William and Robert Chambers,
Text on page 74
indications that Boodhism was once the prevailing faith. The caves of Elephanta* and Eloraf contain images of Gaudama of great antiquity. J Colonel Franklin discovered one of colossal size among the ruins of Pali-bothea. I have one of terra-cotta, bearing inscriptions in the ancient Devnagari character. The Vedas themselves mention Boodh. The Poorannas were unquestionably written some centuries later than the period of Gaudama. The splendid ruins at Prambana, Boro Budo, and Singa Sari in the interior of Java, are regarded by Sir Stamford Raffles as having claims to the highest antiquity of any such structure on the island ; and from Captain Baker's descriptions of these, there can be no doubt of their Boodhist origin. The images are of Boodh. The very term Budo, or Bud'ho, is in the Javanese language synonymous with A ancient" or " pagan." The Javanese speak of the times when Boodhism was the religion of their country as the " ancient times." Their ancient laws make no distinctions, in the award of punishment, in favour of a Brahmin, but always in favour of a king. This is so opposite to the religion of the Hindus, that when they were made, Brahmins could have had no ascendancy. They, however, early acquired power, and when Maho-metanism was brought to Java, it found the Hindu faith established as the religion of the country.
Brahminism was introduced into Bali between three and four hundred years ago, previous to which, the reigning religion was Boodhism.A The existence of caste, and the position of Brahmins on the pinnacle of it, indicate the seniority of Boodhism. Had the religion of the latter been the progenitor, the whole system of caste would have been inherited, almost beyond a doubt. We can scarcely imagine that an established priesthood should resign such power and rank as is held by the political, money-making, haughty, and sensual Brahmins.
Boodh is possibly the Budda or Butta of Bochart and Beausobre ; the Bod of the Arabians ; the Boutta of Clemens Alexandrinus ; the Baouth of Gentil. The pyramids of Egypt are so similar in their structure to a pagoda, and so evidently contain sacred relics, and not the bones of kings, that they bear strong evidences of being Boodhist pagodas.
The probability seems to be that Brahminism grew out of Boodhism, and gained power and numbers in Hindustan till the close of the first century of the Christian era, when they were able to commence that persecution of which their own records speak, and which drove out the teachers of Boodhism into Farther India, whence it extended into China.
Gaudama was the son of Thoke-daw-da-reh, or, as it is written in Sunscrit, Soodawdaneh, king of Ma-ge-deh (now called Behar), in Hindustan. He was born about b. c. 626.
He had previously lived in four hundred millions of worlds, and passed through innumerable conditions in each. In this world, he had been almost every sort of worm, fly, fowl, fish, or animal, and almost every grade and condition of human life. Having, in the course of these transitions, attained immense merit, he at length was born son of the above-named king. The moment he was born, lie jumped upon his feet, and, spreading out his arms, exclaimed, " Now am I the noblest of men ! This is the last time I shall ever be born !" His height, when grown up, was nine cubits. His ears were so beautifully long, as to hang upon his shoulders ; his hands reached to his knees ; his fingers were of equal length ; and with his tongue he could touch the end of his nose ! All which are considered irrefragable proofs of his divinity.
# On an island of that name near Bombay.
f In the province of Arungabad.
A For descriptions of these very remarkable caves, see Seeley's Wonders of Elora; C. Malet; Transactions of Bombay Lit. Soc. art. 9 and 15 ; Daniel's Voyage to India ; Transactions Royal Asiat. fcoc. vol. ii- ; Modern Traveller, vol. iv; Duperron's Prelim. Disc, to his Zend Avista ; Asiatic Researches, vol. i.
A Crawfurd's Indian Archipelago, book vi. ch. 2.
When in this state his mind was enlarged, so that he remembered his former conditions and existences. Of these he rehearsed many to his followers. Five hundred and fifty of these narratives have been preserved, one relating his life and adventures as a deer, another as a monkey, elephant, fowl, and c. and c. The collection is called Dzat, and forms a very considerable part of the sacred books. These legends are a fruitful source of designs for Burman paintings. Of these I purchased several, which do but bring out into visible absurdity the system they would illustrate.
He became Boodh in the thirty-fifth year of his age, and remained so forty-five years, at the end of which time, having performed all sorts of meritorious deeds, and promulgated
excellent laws, far and wide, he obtained " nic-ban," that is, entered
into annihilation, together with five hundred priests, by whom he liad been long attended. This occurred in Hindustan, about 2380 years ago, or b.c. 546. The Cingalese make his death to have occurred B.c. 542, and the Siamese, who also reckon time from that era, make it b.c. 544. At his death, he advised that, besides obeying [his laws, his relics and - image should be worshipped, and pagodas Gaudama. built to his memory,
till the developement of the next Boodh. He is invariably represented in the same manner, except that sometimes he is made to wear a crown, necklace, ornaments on his arms, and c. The common representation is given in my Bible Dictionary ; the other is exhibited in the accompanying cut. I have seen them of all sizes, from half an inch long to seventy-five feeta of wood, stone, brass, brick, clay, and ivory.
The next Boodh is to appear in about seven or eight thousand years from the present time. His height will be eighty cubits ; his mouth will be five cubits wide, and the length of the hairs of his eyebrows five cubits. The precise time of his arrival is not predicted.
No laws or sayings of the first three Boodh s are extant. Those of Gaudama were transmitted by tradition, till four hundred and fifty years after his decease, when they were reduced to writing in Ceylon, that is, a. d. 94. These are the only sacred books of the Burmans, and are all in the Pali language. They are comprised in three divisions, or books, namely, Thoke, Winnee, and Abeedamah. Each of these is divided into distinct books, or sections. The whole is called the Bedagat. Copies of parts of these works are not scarce, though found chiefly with the priests. Entire copies are rare. Some of them are truly elegant, the leaf being covered with black varnish, as fine and glossy as enamel, and over this the words written in gold letters.
They are all in the same form, and strung on a cord. The outsides are often defended by a handsomely carved and gilded board, of the same size as the leaves. ' The strings with which they are tied are about an inch wide, and a fathom long, with some sentence woven in with the texture. These are either some quotation from a sacred book, or some pious sentiment. One of those in my possession reads thus :a" This book-string is offered you, with affectionate regard, to tie up your sacred book ; that precious book where you will find the door by which to enter nic-ban."
The cosmogony of the Bedagat is not precisely alike in the different books ; and even in the same book in-The cosmogony of the Bedagat is not precisely alike in the different books ; and even in the same book in-