Systems of Buddhistic thought by Sōgen Yamakami (1912) Free PDF book

Systems of Buddhistic thought by Sōgen Yamakami (1912) Free PDF book

Systems of Buddhistic thought by Sōgen Yamakami

In the autumn of the year 1906, when I was leaving the shores of Japan, as a Post-Graduate Research Scholar of the Soto-shiu Daigak of Tokyo with the object of studying Sanskrit and P41i in the land of Buddha's birth, I came across a fellow-passenger, a kind-hearted American gentleman, who, on learning that I was a Buddhist priest, enquired of me in a half-curious, half-condescending manner, what Buddhism really meant.

I fully understood the import of the question, and, though my heart was over-flowing with eagerness to explain to my interlocutor the doctrines of the religion in which I had been brought up, I discovered, to my very great regret, that my defective knowledge of the English language proved an insurmountable barrier to the accomplishment of my pious purpose. A few words of broken English came to my lips and melted there. But my fellow-passenger was inexorable; he was determined to have an answer. Being at a loss to satisfy his laudable curiosity,

 I went down to my cabin and brought up Hepburn's English-Japanese Dictionary and a brand-new copy of Dr. Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, the parting gift of a benevolent friend and fellow-countryman. The English- Japanese Dictionary was unfortunately of little or no use, but Brewer's work appeared for the time being to relieve me of my helplessness. Without hesitating for a single moment, I turned over the leaves of Brewer's book until I came to the article on Buddhism, and showed it to my trans- Atlantic companion who read it with apparent pleasure thanked me for the information thus supplied, and departed in good humor.

 "When he had gone out of sight, I retired to my cabin and attempted the then somewhat heroic feat of interpreting to myself with the help of Hepburn's Dictionary, the account given of Buddhism by the venerable Brewer; and distressing indeed was my surprise when I had made the passage intelligible to myself.

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