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

Excerpt:
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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