Systems of Buddhistic thought
|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 with the object of studying Sanskrit and Pali 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 Eng- ish-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 humour.
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. Most of you, who are no doubt more familiar with Brewer s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable than I can claim to be, will recollect how even in the revised, corrected and enlarged edition of that work published in 1900, the article on Buddhism reads. "Buddhism/ says Brewer on p. 184- of that book, "is a system of religion established in India in the third century.
It would be my first care to explain to the inhabitants of the country which gave us our religion, what Buddhism really is and what it is not. Such an opportunity, however, seemed never to become, until, to my great surprise, I was informed one day that the large-hearted and erudite Vice-Chancellor* and the learned Syndicate had appointed me Reader on Buddhism to the University of Calcutta.
And great indeed is the thankfulness and delight with which I embrace this opportunity which promises an early fulfilment of my long-cherished hope of expounding to the countrymen of Buddha the real essence of the faith which he preached, recovered from the numerous, though fragmentary, accounts enshrined in the Sanskrit canon, which, though lost in the original, is still accessible to scholars in Chinese and Tibetan versions, faithfully executed through centuries of indefatigable labour, by generations of learned and pious scholars who consecrated their lives and energies to the dissemination of Buddha s teachings beyond the confines of Jambudvipa.
Classification of Buddhism ... ... 1
The Easy Path and Difficult Path 2
Theoretical and practical divisions of Buddhism 3
Classification based on the Tripitaka ... 3
Controversialism in Buddhism ... 4
The Dhyana School ... 5
Psychological Classification of Buddhism ... 6
THE ESSENTIAL PRINCIPLES OF BUDDHIST PHILOSOPHY.
The three-fold corner-stone of Buddhism ... 7
The law of Universal impermanence ... ... 8
The impermanence of Life-period ... ...
The Impermanence of the Self-nature of Conditional things. Sunyatd
In what sense is the Law of Impermanence universal?
The doctrine of Anatman
Three classes of "atman-theories"
The empirical Ego in Buddhism
Buddhist rejection of the individual soul
Denial of a Universal Creator
Dogen Zenji on the Soul
MaJdtman is identical with the Paramdtman
The idea of the Universal Womb
The doctrine of Nirvana
Nirvana is really indescribable
Realisation of Nirvana
The etymology of Nirvana ... ... ... ... 30
The two aspets of N in ana ... ... ... ... 32
Nagasena s beautiful illustrations ... ... ... 33
The artificial distinction between the two sorts of Nirvana ... 36
The hinayanistic misconception of Nirvana ... ... ... 36
Nirvana as understood in Ceylon ... ... ... 38
The nihilistic view of Nirvana is not orthodox ... ... 40
What Nirvana really means ... ... 40
The technical definition of Nirvana 4
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