ill-defined spiritual beings which bear the names of nats and rupas. The state of Nirban would appear to signify among them, not so much a state of absorption into divinity, or annihilation, as has been described, as that indicated by the expression a where they cease from troubling aathat is, where the deceased Burman is exempt from all the miseries of humanity. As a man who is sick recovers health, so is Nirban to present existence, where he is no longer subject to weariness, old age, disease, and death. They entertain some views in regard to the history of our earth, which on the one hand approach to that of the plurality of worlds, and on the other to the cometic theory. According to their ideas, one world succeeds another; although what was the first, or what will be the last, they do not pretend to indicate: these worlds, they say, never had a beginning, never will have an end; their successive destructions and reproductions resemble a great wheel, in which we can point out neither beginning nor end. According to their traditions, the duration of life of man was at first infinitely long. After the first inhabitants, the duration of existence gradually decreased in succeeding generations as they became less and less virtuous, until, in the state of their greatest wickedness, the duration of life was ten years only. The children of these, dedicating themselves more to the practice of virtue, became worthy of living twenty years; and so the duration of life went on increasing in succeeding generations until it attained ten thousand years, and finally the infinite period originally enjoyed. This cycle of decrement and increase in the duration of longevity roust take place sixty-four tinier after the creation of a world before it is destroyed. In the present eleven such cycles have taken place; and at the period through which we are now passing a life of eighty years is considered rather a long oneaindicating, doubtless, that we are now in the stage of progressive decrease by reason of prevailing vice and luxury.
With regard to the sun, the Burmese consider that luminary to be the palace of a natato be composed of gold without and crystal within; and because these two substances are byWith regard to the sun, the Burmese consider that luminary to be the palace of a nata to be composed of gold without and crystal within; and because these two substances are by