TWENTIETH CENTURY IMPRESSIONS OF BURMA.
hence to know, signifies the Awakened or the Illuminated or Enlightened One ; it is thus not a name, but a title ; the designation of an office or state of attainment. a Correctly speaking, it is to the office, rather than to the holder of it, that reference is made in the recitation of the above-cited formula ; but, in just the same way as a British subject, speaking at the present time, might use the term aThe King,a meaning Edward VII., so the Buddhist, in common usage, speaks of a The Buddha a as meaning the particular Indian sage who founded the present aBuddhist Religion.a Buddhist eschatology informs us that, alike in this world as in others (for Buddhism teaches the existence of innumerable inhabited worlds besides our own), there
arises, from time to time, a man who, by dint of long search after truth, sought for the sake of the salvation of suffering beings, attains by his own effort to supreme enlightenment, to Sammasatnbodhi or Very Buddha-hood ; and, having so attained, he announces to all mankind the way, by following which they likewise may attain to this same goal of perfected wisdom and compassion. Those who, following the aTruth and Disciplinea set forth by a Very Buddha, reach in this life to the same ultimate goal of perfected being, are termed, not Buddhas, but Arahans (meaning the Exalted or Honoured Ones) ; whilst yet a third class, who win again by their own effort, protracted through many lives, to the goal of perfectionafinding the
way for themselves, instead of following the way taught by a Very Buddhaaare termed Pacceka-Buddhas (meaning, enlightened by self-effort); but differ from a Very Buddha in thatanot having sought the truth for sake of others, but only for their own sakesathey lack the special aIddhi of the Dhammaaa the power of the truth which enables a Very Buddha so to frame words as may best move the hearts of his fellow-beings as to bring them also to seek out the a Way of Peace.a Buddhism teachesain a specially modified sense we shall presently considerathe doctrine of transmigrationateaches, that is, that every living being both has lived before this present birth, and will continue in existence thereafter ; and, in accordance with its root-
conception of causation, it makes the state of each birth causally dependent on the acts of those which preceded it. The qualifications, therefore, for the subsequent attainment of the status of Very Buddha are, firstly, an immense and all-dominating compassion for the suffering involved in life, and the desire to find some truth so great that by its application beings may find eternal relief from the suffering of repeated transmigration ; secondly, the practice, with this end in view, of certain Ten High Virtues, perfecting himself in these through the devotion and self-sacrifice of many following lives ; whilst, thirdly, the self-destined Buddha, thus suffused with pity past all measuring, aspiring to attainment of the supreme en-
lightenment for that sufferingas relief, must solemnly devote himself to this stupendous task in presence of a Very Buddha ; and must thereafter practise the Ten High Virtues till the necessary a Power of the Truth a is won.
One who possesses these qualifications and has so definitely decided that, instead of seeking out the truth for himself, so reaching Nirvana and passing abeyonda all life, he will continue suffering re-birth after re-birth, in order that he may become a Very Buddha, is termed a Bodhisatta, or Buddha-to-be, from the era of his self-devotion to this task, until his attainment of Very Buddhahood. He who now, for this our world, is known as the Buddha, thus perfected himself in the Ten High Virtues for five hundred and fifty successive lives, in any one of which he might a so high already was his spiritual attainment in even the first of themahave won to Arahanship, have attained Nirvana and so secured his own immediate and everlasting peace, had he not thus devoted himself, at the expense of his own spiritual attainment, to life after life of self-renunciation, of arduous practise of the High Perfections, so that he might in the end throw wide the way of peace to all.*
Passing from these traditional details as to the previous lives of the Bodhisatta to the historical facts concerning his last existence, we find that he, who was presently to receive the adoration of more followers than any other of the great teachers of humanity, was born in Northern India in the earlier half of the sixth century before Christ, son of Suddhodana, the king or chief of an aristocratic and proud Aryan Clan known as the Sakyas, athe Capable Ones.a The space allotted us for this article, and the wide extent of the ground that must yet be covered if we are to give even a mere outline of what the Religion of Burma teaches and implies, makes it impossible that we should give more than the barest outline of the story
# All these details as to previous existence of the Buddha, his renunciation, as Bodhisatta, of his own immediate spiritual welfare for sake of others, and so forth, are, it may appear, of the nature of dogmasaof ex-cathedra statements of facts beyond the possibility of demonstration. This, however, is not the case ; they are, firstly, facts ascertained by the insight of the Buddha, and placed on record by his disciples; they are, in fact, accepted a on faith a by his present followers, though it is a reasoned belief rather than mere blind faithareasoned, that is, from the circumstance that wherever we can test the truth of a statement of the Buddha (as in the case of the two first of the Four Noble Truths) we find his statements absolutely true. But the point is, firstly, that belief in these details is not necessary to the Buddhist; a man might be truly a Buddhist in our sense without accepting them at all, and the chief point to which our attention is directed in connection with them is the nature of the ideal they portray. That idealaselflessness, renunciation of self-interest for othersa sakeais Buddhism, and is essential.
PONGYIS (BUDDHIST PRIESTS) AND DISCIPLES.PONGYIS (BUDDHIST PRIESTS) AND DISCIPLES.