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Bible Myths and their Parallels in other Religions Being a Comparison of the Old and New Testament Myths and Miracles with those of the Heathen Nations of Antiquity Considering also their Origin and Meaning

Page: 177

Benares, indeed, must always be regarded as the Hindoo's Jerusalem. The desire of a pious man's life is to accomplish at least one pilgrimage to what he regards as a portion of heaven let down upon earth; and if he can die within the holy circuit of the Pancakosi stretching with a radius of ten miles around the city—nay, if any human being die there, be he Asiatic or European—no previously incurred guilt, however heinous, can prevent his attainment of celestial bliss.

[296:5] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 245.

[296:6] Matt. iv. 13-17.

[296:7] Beal: Hist. Buddha, p. 11.

[296:8] John, i. 17.

[296:9] Luke, xxi. 32, 33.

[296:10] Prog. Relig. Ideas, vol. i. p. 228.

[296:11] Matt. v. 27, 28.

On one occasion Buddha preached a sermon on the five senses and the heart (which he regarded as a sixth organ of sense), which pertained to guarding against the passion of lust. Rhys Davids, who, in speaking of this sermon, says: "One may pause and wonder at finding such a sermon preached so early in the history of the world—more than 400 years before the rise of Christianity—and among a people who have long been thought peculiarly idolatrous and sensual." (Buddhism, p. 60.)

[297:1] Rhys Davids' Buddhism, p. 138.

[297:2] I. Corinth. vii. 1-7.

[297:3] Rhys Davids' Buddhism, p. 103.

[297:4] John, ix. 1, 2.

This is the doctrine of transmigration clearly taught. If this man was born blind, as punishment for some sin committed by him, this sin must have been committed in some former birth.

[297:5] Hardy: Buddhist Legends, p. 181.

[297:6] See the story of his conversation with the woman of Samaria. (John, iv. 1.) And with the woman who was cured of the "bloody issue." (Matt. ix. 20.)

[297:7] Müller: Science of Religion, p. 245.

[297:8] Matt. v. 29.

[297:9] Hardy: Buddhist Legends, p. 134.

[297:10] Matt. xxi. 1-9.

Bacchus rode in a triumphal procession, on approaching the city of Thebes. "Pantheus, the king, who had no respect for the new worship (instituted by Bacchus) forbade its rites to be performed. But when it was known that Bacchus was advancing, men and women, but chiefly the latter, young and old, poured forth to meet him and to join his triumphal march. . . . It was in vain Pantheus remonstrated, commanded and threatened. 'Go,' said he to his attendants, 'seize this vagabond leader of the rout and bring him to me. I will soon make him confess his false claim of heavenly parentage and renounce his counterfeit worship.'" (Bulfinch: Age of Fable, p. 222. Compare with Matt. xxvi.; Luke, xxii.; John xviii.)

[297:11] "There are few names among the men of the West that stand forth as saliently as Gotama Buddha, in the annals of the East. In little more than two centuries from his decease the system he established had spread throughout the whole of India, overcoming opposition the most formidable, and binding together the most discordant elements; and at the present moment Buddhism is the prevailing religion, under various modifications, of Tibet, Nepal, Siam, Burma, Japan, and South Ceylon; and in China it has a position of at least equal prominence with its two great rivals, Confucianism and Taouism. A long time its influence extended throughout nearly three-fourths of Asia; from the steppes of Tartary to the palm groves of Ceylon, and from the vale of Cashmere to the isles of Japan." (R. Spence Hardy: Buddhist Leg. p. xi.)

[298:1] "Gautama was very early regarded as omniscient, and absolutely sinless. His perfect wisdom is declared by the ancient epithet of Samma-sambuddha, 'the Completely Enlightened One;' found at the commencement of every Pali text; and at the present day, in Ceylon, the usual way in which Gautama is styled is Sarwajnan-wahanse,' the Venerable Omniscient One.' From his perfect wisdom, according to Buddhist belief, his sinlessness would follow as a matter of course. He was the first and the greatest of the Arahats. As a consequence of this doctrine the belief soon sprang up that he could not have been, that he was not, born as ordinary men are; that he had no earthly father; that he descended of his own accord into his mother's womb from his throne in heaven; and that he gave unmistakable signs, immediately after his birth of his high character and of his future greatness." (Rhys Davids' Buddhism, p. 162.)

[299:1] Gautama Buddha left behind him no written works, but the Buddhists believe that he composed works which his immediate disciples learned by heart in his life-time, and which were handed down by memory in their original state until they were committed to writing. This is not impossible: it is known that the Vedas were handed down in this manner for many hundreds of years, and none would now dispute the enormous powers of memory to which Indian priests and monks attained, when written books were not invented, or only used as helps to memory. Even though they are well acquainted with writing, the monks in Ceylon do not use books in their religions services, but, repeat, for instance, the whole of the


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