1902 Encyclopedia > Lamaism


LAMAISM is partly religious, partly political. Religi-ously it is the corrupt form of Buddhism prevalent in Tibet and Mongolia. It stands in a relationship to primitive Buddhism similar to that in which Boman Catholicism, so long as the temporal power of the pope was still in existence, stood to primitive Christianity. The ethical and metaphysical ideas most conspicuous in the doctrines of Lamaism are not confined to the highlands of Central Asia, they are accepted in great measure also in Japan and China. It is the union of these ideas with a hierarchical system, and with the temporal sovereignty of the head of that system in Tibet, which constitutes what is distinctively understood by the term Lamaism. Lamaism is hardly calculated to attract much attention for its own sake. Tibetan superstitions and Tibetan politics are alike repug-nant to Western minds. But, as so many unfounded beliefs and curious customs have a special value of their own to the student of folklore, so Lamaism has acquired a special interest to the student of comparative history through the instructive parallel which its history presents to that of the Church of Rome.

The central point of primitive Buddhism was the doctrine of "Arahatship,"—asystemof ethical and mental self-culture, in which deliverance was found from all the mysteries and sorrows of life in a change of heart to be reached here on earth. This doctrine seems to have been held very nearly in its original points from the time when it was propounded by Gotama in the 5th century B.C. down to the period in which northern India was invaded andconquered bytheHuns at about the commencement of the Christian era. At that time there had arisen a school of Buddhist teachers who called their doctrine the "Great Vehicle." It was not in any contradiction to the older doctrine, which they contemptu-ously called the "Little Vehicle," but included it all, and was based upon it. The distinguishing characteristic of the newer school was the importance which it attached to "Bodisatship." The older school had taught that Gotama, who had propounded the doctrine of Arahatship, was a Buddha, that only a Buddha is capable of discovering that doctrine, and that a Buddha is a man who by self-denying efforts, continued through many hundreds of different births, has acquired the so-called Ten Pdramitas or cardinal virtues in such perfection that he is able, when sin and ignorance have gained the upper hand throughout the world, to save the human race from impending ruin. But until the process of perfection has been completed, until the moment when at last the sage, sitting under the Bo tree, acquires that particular insight or wisdom which is called Enlightenment or Buddhahood, he is still only a Bodisat. And the link of connexion between the various Bodisats in the future Buddha's successive births is not a soul which is transferred from body to body, but the karma, or character, which each successive Bodisat inherits from his predecessors in the long chain of existences. Now the older school also held, in the first place, that, when a man had, in this life, attained to Arahatship, his karma would not pass on to any other individual in another life,—or in other words, that after Arahatship there would be no rebirth; and, secondly, that four thousand years after the Buddha had proclaimed the Dhamma or doctrine of Arahatship, his teaching would have died away, wicked-ness and ignorance would have increased in the world, and another Buddha would be required to bring mankind once more to a knowledge of the truth. The leaders of the Great Vehicle urged their followers to seek to attain, not so much to Arahatship, which would involve only their own salvation, but to Bodisatship, by the attainment of which they would be conferring the blessings of the Dhamma upon countless multitudes in the long ages of the future. By thus laying stress upon Bodisatship, rather than upon Arahatship, the new school, though they doubtless merely thought themselves to be carrying the older orthodox doctrines to their logical conclusion, were really changing the central point of Buddhism, and were altering the direction of their mental vision. It was of no avail that they adhered in other respects in the main to the older teaching, that they professed to hold to the same ethical system, that they adhered, except in a few unim-portant details, to the old regulations of the order of the Buddist mendicant recluses. The ancient books, still preserved to us in the Pali Pitakas, being mainly occupied with the details of Arahatship, lost their exclusive value in the eyes of those whose attention was being directed to the details of Bodisatship. And the opinion that every leader in their religious circles, every teacher distinguished among them for his sanctity of life, or for his extensive learning, was a Bodisat, who might have and who probably had inherited the karma of some great teacher of old, opened the door to a flood of superstitious fancies.

It is worthy of note that the new school found its earliest professors and its greatest expounders in a part of India which lay outside the districts to which the personal influence of Gotama himself and of his immediate followers had been confined. The home of early Buddhism was round about Kosala and Magadha; in the district, that is to say, north and south of the Ganges between where Allahabad now lies on the west, and Bajgir on the east. The home of the Great Vehicle was, at first, in the countries farther to the north and west. Buddhism arose in countries, subject indeed to Brahman influence, but where the sacred language of the Brahmans was never more than a learned tongue, and where the exclusive claims of the Brahmans had never been universally admitted. The Great Vehicle arose in the very stronghold of Brahmanism, and among a people to whom Sanskrit was a familiar tongue. The new literature therefore, which the new movement called forth, was written, and has been preserved, in Sanskrit,—its principal books of Dharma, or doctrine, being the following nine :—(1) Prajña-pdramitá ; (2) Ganda-vyüha ; (3) Dasa-bhñmes-vara; (4) Samádhi-rája; (5) Lankavatara ; (6) Sad-dharma-pundaríka; (7) Taihdgata-guhyaka ; (8) Lalita-vistara; (9) Suvarna-prabhása, The date of none of these works is known with any certainty, but it is highly improbable that any one of them is older than the 6th century after the death of Gotama. Copies of all of them were brought to Europej.by Mr B. BT. Hodgson, and other copies have been received since then; but none of them have as yet been published in Europe (the Lalita Vistara has been published by Rajendra Lai Mitra in Calcutta), and only two have been translated into any European language. These are the Lalita Vistara, translated into French, through the Tibetan, by M. Foucaux, and the Saddharma Pundarika, translated into French by M. Eugene Burnouf. The former of these two is a legendary work, partly in verse, on the life of Gotama, the historical Buddha; and the latter, also partly in verse, is devoted to proving the essential identity of the Great and the Little Vehicle and the equal authenticity of both as doctrines enunciated by the master himself.

Of the authors of these nine works, as indeed of all the older Buddhist works with one or two exceptions, nothing has as yet been ascertained. The founder of the system of the Great Vehicle is, however, often referred to under the name of Nagarjuna or Nagasena, a personage cele-brated even in the countries to which the Greater Vehicle has never penetrated as the contemporary and religious instructor of the Yavana king Milinda, and as the answerer of the famous Questions of Miliuda, a work still preserved in its Pali form. As Milinda may with all probability be identified with the Greek king Menander, who was one of the followers of Alexander the Great in Bactria, this tradition would imply that the origin of the Great Vehicle must be assigned to as early a date as the 2d century B.C. But the work itself was probably composed at least some centuries afterwards; and it would be hazardous to attach too much importance to any chronological data drawn from it. We must be content at present to settle a certain his-torical sequence in the principal doctrines of the system which developed into Lamaism, without pretending to fix any actual dates.

Together with Nagasena, other early teachers of the Great Vehicle whose names are known to us are Vasumitra or Vasubandhu, Aryadeva, Dharmapála, and Gunamati—all of whom were looked upon as Bodisats. As the newer school did not venture so far as to claim as Bodisats the disciples stated in the older books to have been the contem-poraries of Gotama (they being precisely the persons known as Arahats), they attempted to give the appearance of age to|the Bodisat theory by representing the Buddha as being surrounded, not only by his human companions the Arahats, but also by fabulous beings, whom they repre-sented as the Bodisats existing at that time. In the open-ing words of each Mahayana treatise a list is given of such Bodisats, who were beginning, together with the historical Bodisats, to occupy a position in the Buddhist church of those times similar to that occupied by the saints in the corresponding period of the history of Christianity in the Church of Borne. And these lists of fabulous Bodisats have now a distinct historical importance. For they grow in length in the later works; and it is often possible by comparing them one with another to fix, not the date, but the comparative age of the books in which they occur. Thus it is a fair inference to draw from the shortness of the list in the opening words of the Lalita Vistara, as compared with that in the first sections of the Saddharma Pundarika, that the latter work is much the younger of the two, a conclusion supported also by other considerations.

Among the Bodisats mentioned in the Saddharma Pimdarika, and not mentioned in the Lalita Vistara, as attendant on the Buddha are Manju-srI and Avalokitesvara. Thatthese saints were already acknowledged by the followers of the Great Vehicle at the beginning of the 5th century is clear from the fact that Fa Hian, who visited India about that time, says that " men of the Great Vehicle " were then worshipping them at Mathura, not far from Delhi (F. H., chap. xvi.). These were supposed to be celestial beings who, inspired by love of the human race, had taken the so-called Great Resolve to become future Buddhas, and who therefore, very naturally, descended from heaven when the actual Buddha was on earth, to pay reverence to him, and to learn of him. The belief in them probably arose out of the doctrine of the older school, which did not deny the existence of the various creations of Brahmanical mythology and speculation, but allowed of their actual existence as spiritual beings, and only deprived them of all power over the lives of men, and declared them to be temporary beings liable like men to sin and ignorance, and requiring like men the salvation of Arahatship. Among them the later Buddhists seem to have placed their numerous Bodisats ; and to have paid especial reverence to Manju-sri as the personification of wisdom, and to Avalokiteswara as the personification of overruling love. The latter indeed occupies in the Mahayana very much the position which the old Brahmanical god Brahma, the First Cause of the Brahmanical speculation, had been allowed to retain in primitive Buddhism. The former was afterwards identified with the mythical first Buddhist missionary, who is supposed in the legend to have introduced civilization into Tibet about two hundred and fifty years after the death of the Buddha.

The way was now open to a rapid fall from the simplicity of early Buddhism, in which men's attention was directed to the various parts of the system of self-culture which men could themselves practise, to a belief in a whole pantheon of saints or angels, which appealed more strongly to the half-civilized races among whom the Great Vehicle was now professed. A theory sprang up which was supposed to explain the marvellous powers of the Buddhas by represent-ing them as only the outward appearance, the reflexion, as it were, or emanation, of ethereal Buddhas dwelling in the skies. These were called Dhyani Buddhas, and their number was supposed to be, like that of the Buddhas, innumerable. Only five of them, however, occupied any space in the speculative world in which the ideas of the later Buddhists had now begun to move. But, being Buddhas, they were supposed of course to have their Bodisats; and thus out of the five last Buddhas of the earlier teaching there grew up five mystic trinities, each group consisting of one of these five Buddhas, his prototype in heaven the Dhyani Buddha, and his celestial Bodisat. Among these hypothetical beings, the creations of a sickly scholasticism, hollow abstractions without life or reality, the particular trinity in which the historical Gotama was assigned a subordinate place naturally occupied the most exalted rank. Amitabha, the Dhyani-Buddha of this trinity, soon began to fill the largest place in the minds of the new school; and Avalokiteswara, his Bodisat, was looked upon with a reverence somewhat less than his former glory. It is needless to add that, under the overpowering influence of these vain imaginations, the earnest moral teachings of Gotama became more and more hid from view. The imaginary saints grew and flourished. Each new creation, each new step in the theory, demanded another, until the whole sky was filled with forgeries of the brain, and the nobler and simpler lessons of the founder of the religion were hidden beneath the glittering stream of metaphysical subtleties.
Still worse results followed on the change of the earlier point of view. The acute minds of the Buddhist pandits, no longer occupied with the practical lessons of Arahat-ship, turned their attention, as far as it was not engaged upon their hierarchy of mythological beings, to questions of philosophical speculation, which, in the earliest Buddhism, are not only discouraged but forbidden. We find long-treatises on the nature of being, idealistic dreams which have as little to do with the Bodisatship that is concerned with the salvation of the world as with the Arahatship that is concerned with the perfect life. Only one lower step was possible, and that was not long in being taken. The animism common alike to the untaught Huns and to their Hindu conquerors, but condemned in early Bud-dhism, was allowed to revive. As the stronger side of Gotama's teaching was neglected, the debasing belief in rites and ceremonies, and charms and incantations, which had been the especial object of his scorn, began to live again, and to grow vigorously, and to spread like the Blrana weed warmed by a tropical sun in marsh and muddy soil. As in India, after the expulsion of Buddhism, the degrading worship of Siva and his dusky bride had been incorporated into Brahmanism from the wild and savage devil worship of Aryan and of non-Aryan tribes, so, as pure Buddhism died away in the north, the Tantra system, a mixture of magic and witchcraft and sorcery, was incorporated into the corrupted Buddhism.

The founder of this system seems to have been Asanga, an influential monk of Peshawar, in the Punjab, who lived and wrote the first text-book of the creed, the Yogdchchdra Bhumi Sdstra, about the 6th century of our era. Hwen Tsang, who travelled in the first half of the 7th, found the monastery where Asanga had lived in ruins, and says that he had lived one thousand years after the Buddha.1 He managed with great dexterity to reconcile the two opposing systems by placing a number of Saivite gods or devils, both male and female, in the inferior heavens of the then prevalent Buddhism, and by representing them as worshippers and supporters of the Buddha and of Avalokitesvara. He thus made it possible for the half-converted and rude tribes to remain Buddhists while they brought offerings, and even bloody offerings, to these more congenial shrines, and while their practical belief had no relation at all to the Truths or the Noble Eightfold Path, but busied itself almost wholly with obtaining magic powers (Slddhi), by means of magic phrases (D/idrani), and magic circles (Mandala). Asanga's happy idea bore but too ample fruit. In his own country and Nepal the new wine, sweet and luscious to the taste of savages, com-pletely disqualified them from enjoying any purer drink ; and now in both countries Saivism is supreme, and Buddhism is even nominally extinct, except in some outlying districts of Nepal. But this full effect has only been worked out in the lapse of ages ; the Tantra literature has also had its growth and its development, and some unhappy scholar of a future age may have to trace its loathsome history. The nauseous taste repelled even the self-sacrificing industry of Burnouf, when he found the later Tantra books to be as immoral as they are absurd.

"The pen," he says, "refuses to transcribe doctrines as miserable in respect of form as they are odious and degrading in respect of meaning."2

Such had been the decline and fall of Buddhism con-sidered as an ethical system before its introduction into Tibet. The manner in which its order of mendicant re-cluses, at first founded to afford better opportunities to those who wished to carry out that system in practical life, developed at last into a hierarchical monarchy will best be understood by a sketch of the history of Tibet.

In Tibet as elsewhere the beginnings of the accounts found in the old historians are merely a recapitulation of legends in which popular tradition has explained by miraculous and mythological fancies the origins of its civilization. Its real history commences with Srong Tsan Gampo, who was born a little after 600 A.D., and who is said in the Chinese chronicles to have entered, in 634 after Christ, into diplomatic relationship with Thai Tsung, one of the emperors of the Thung dynasty. He was the founder of the present capital of Tibet, now known as Lhasa; and in the year 622 (the same year as that in which Mohammed fled from Mecca) he began the formal introduction of Buddhism into Tibet. For this purpose he sent the minister Thumi Sambhota, afterwards looked upon as an incarnation of MaBju-sri, to India, there to collect the sacred books, and to learn and translate them. Thumi Sambhota accordingly invented an alphabet for the Tibetan language on the model of the Indian alphabets then in use. And, aided by the king himself, who is represented to have been an industrious student and translator, he wrote the first books by which Buddhism became known in his native land. The most famous of all the works ascribed to him is the Mani Kambum, " the Myriad of Precious Words,"—a treatise chiefly on religion, but which also contains an account of the introduction of Buddhism into Tibet, and of the closing part of the life of king Srong Tsan Gampo. He is also very probably the author of another very ancient standard work of Tibetan Buddhism, the Samatog, a short digest of Buddhist morality, on which the civil laws of Tibet have been founded. It is said in the Mani Kambum to have fallen down from heaven in a casket (Tibetan, samatog), and, like the last-mentioned work, is unfortun-ately only known to us in meagre abstract.

King Srong Tsan Gampo's zeal for Buddhism was shared and supported by his two queens, the one named Bribsun, a princess from Nepal, the other named Wen Ching, a princess from China. They are related in the chronicles to have brought with them sacred relics, books, and pictures, for whose better preservation and honour two large mona-steries were erected, and opened and dedicated with much ceremony. These are the cloisters of La Brang and Ra Mochay, still, though much changed and enlarged, the most famous and sacred abbeys in Tibet, and the glory of Lhasa. In after times the two queens have become semi-divine personages, and are worshipped under the name of the two Dara-Eke, the " glorious mothers," being regarded as incarnations of the wife of Siva, representing respectively two of the qualities which she personifies, divine vengeance and divine love. The former of the two is worshipped by the Mongolians as Okkin Tengri, " the Virgin Goddes3 ;" but in Tibet and China the role of the divine virgin is filled by Kwan Yin, a personification of Avalokitesvara as the heavenly word, who is often represented with a child in her arms. Srong Tsan Gampo has also become a saint, being looked upon as an incarnation of Avalokitesvara; and the description in the ecclesiastical historians of the measures he took for the welfare of his subjects do great credit to their ideal of the perfect Buddhist king. He is said to have spent his long reign in the building of reservoirs, bridges, and canals; in the promotion of agri-culture, horticulture, and manufactures: in the establish-ment of schools and colleges; and in the maintenance of justice, and the encouragement of virtue. But the degree of his success must have been slight. For after the death of himself and of his wives Buddhism gradually decayed, and was subjected by succeeding kings to cruel persecu-tions ; and it was not ,till more than half a century after-wards, under King Kir Song de Tsan, who reigned 740-786, that true religion is acknowledged by the ecclesiastical historians to have become firmly established in the land.

This monarch again sent to India to replace the sacred books that had been lost, and to invite Buddhist pandits to translate them. The most distinguished of those who came were Santa Rakshita, Padrna Sambhava, and Kamala Slla, for whom, and for their companions, the king built a splendid monastery still existing, at Samje, about three days' journey south-east of Lhasa. It was to them that the Tibetans owed the great collection of what are still regarded as their sacred books—the Kandjur. It consists of 100 volumes containing no less than 689 works, of which there are two or three complete sets in Europe, one of them in the India Office Library. A detailed analysis of these Scriptures has been published by the celebrated Hungarian scholar Csoma de Koros, whose authoritative work has lately been republished in French with complete indices and very useful notes by M. Leon Feer. These volumes contain about a dozen works of the oldest school of Buddhism, the Hlnayana, and about 300 works, mostly very short, belonging to the Tantra school. But the great bulk of the collection consists of Mahayana books, belonging to all the previously existing varieties of that widely extended Buddhist sect; and, as the Sanskrit originals of many of these writings are now lost without hope of recovery, the Tibetan translations will be of great value, not only for the history of Lamaism, but also for the history of the later forms of Indian Buddhism.

The last king's second son, Lang Darma, .concluded in May 822 a treaty with the then emperor of China (the twelfth of the Thang dynasty), a record of which was engraved on a stone put up in the above mentioned great convent of La Brang, and is still to be seen there. He is described in the church chronicles as an incarnation of the evil spirit, and is said to have tried his best to overthrow religion, and to have succeeded in suppressing Buddhism throughout the greater part of the land. The period from Srong Tsan Gampo down to the death of Lang Darma, who was eventually murdered about 850 A.D., in a civil war, is called in the Buddhist books " the first introduction of religion." It was followed by more than a century of civil disorder and wars, during which the exiled Buddhist monks attempted unsuccessfully again and again to return. Many are the stories of martyrs and confessors who are believed to have lived in these troublous times, and their efforts were at last crowned with success, for in the century com-mencing with the reign of Bilamgur in 971 there took place " the second introduction of religion" into Tibet, more especially under the guidance of the Pandita Atlsha, who came to Tibet in 1041, and of his famous native pupil and follower Brom Ston. The long period of depres-sion seems not to have been without a beneficial influence on the persecuted Buddhist Church, for these teachers are reported to have placed the Tantra system more in the background, and to have adhered more strongly to the purer forms of the Mahayana development of the ancient faith.

For about three hundred years the Buddhist Church of Tibet was then left in peace, subjecting the country more and more completely to its control, and growing in power and in wealth. During this time it achieved its greatest victory, and underwent the most important change in its character and organization. After the reintroduction of Buddhism into the " kingdom of snow," the ancient dynasty never recovered its power. Its representatives continued for some time to claim the sovereignty ; but the country was practically very much in the condition of Germany at about the same time—chieftains of almost independent power ruled from their castles on the hill tops over the adjacent valleys, engaged in petty wars, and conducted plundering expeditions against the neighbouring tenants, whilst the great abbeys were places of refuge for the studious or religious, and their heads were the only rivals to the barons in social state, and in many respects the only protectors and friends of the people. Meanwhile Jenghiz Khan had founded the Mongol empire, and his grandson Kublai Khân, who ruled over the greatest empire which has ever owned the sway of a single man, became a convert to the Buddhism of the Tibetan Lamas. He granted to the abbot of the Sakya monastery in southern Tibet the title of tributary sovereign of the country, head of the Buddhist Church, and overlord over the numerous barons and abbots, and in return was officially crowned by the abbot as ruler over the extensive domain of the Mongol empire. Thus was the foundation laid at one and the same time of the temporal sovereignty of the Lamas of Tibet, and of the suzerainty over Tibet of the emperors of China. One of the first acts of the "head of the church" was the printing of a carefully revised edition of the Tibetan Scriptures,—an undertaking which occupied altogether nearly thirty years, and was not completed till 1306.

Under Kublai's successors in China the Buddhist cause flourished greatly, and the Sâkya Lamas extended their power both at home and abroad. The dignity of abbot at Sâkya became hereditary, the abbots breaking so far the Buddhist rule of celibacy that they remained married until they had begotten a son and heir. But rather more than half a century afterwards their power was threatened by a formidable rival at home, a Buddhist reformer.

Tsongkapa, the Luther of Tibet, was born about 1357 on the spot where the famous monastery of Kunbum now stands. He very early entered the order, and studied at Sakya, Brigung, and other monasteries. He then spent eight years as a hermit in Takpo in southern Tibet, where the comparatively purer teaching of AtLsha (referred to above) was still prevalent. About 1390 he appeared as a public teacher and reformer in Lhasa itself, and before his death in 1419 there were three huge monasteries there containing 30,000 of his disciples, besides others in other parts of the country. His voluminous works, of which the most famous are the Sumbun and the Lam Nim Tshenpo, exist in printed Tibetan copies in Europe, but have not as yet been translated or analysed. But the principal lines on which his reformation proceeded are sufficiently well attested. He insisted in the first place on the complete carrying out of the ancient rules of the order as to the celibacy of its members, and as to simplicity in dress. One result of the second of these two reforms was to make it necessary for every monk openly to declare himself either in favour of or against the new views. For Tsongkapa and his followers wore the yellow or orange-coloured garments which had been the distinguishing mark of the order in the lifetime of its founder, and in support of the ancient rules Tsongkapa reinstated the fortnightly rehearsal of the Pâtimokkha or " disburdenment " in regular assemblies of the order at Lhasa—a practice which had fallen into desuetude. He also restored the custom of the first disciples to hold the so-called Vassa or yearly retire-ment, and the public meeting of the order at its close. In all these respects he was simply following the directions of the Vinaya, or regulations of the order, as established probably in the time of Gotama himself, and as certainly handed down from the earliest times in the pitakas or sacred books. Further, he set his face against the Tantra system, and against the whole crowd of animistic super-stitions which had been allowed to creep into life again among the more ignorant of the monks and the people. He laid stress on the self-culture involved in the practice of the paramitas or cardinal virtues, and established an annual national fast or week of prayer to be held during the first days of each year. This last institution indeed is not found in the ancient Vinaya, but was almost certainly modelled on the traditional account of the similar assemblies convoked by Asoka and other Buddhist sovereigns in India every fifth year. Laymen as well as monks take part in the proceedings, the details of which are entirely unknown to us except from the accounts of the Catholic missionaries, —Fathers Hue and Gabet,—who describe the principal ceremonial as, in outward appearance, wonderfully like the high mass. In doctrine the great Tibetan teacher, who had no access to the Pali Pitakas, adhered in the main to the purer forms of the Mahayana school; in questions of church government he took little part, and did not dispute the titular supremacy of the Sakya Lamas, though in other matters he had raised the standard of revolt. But the effects of his teaching weakened their power. The " orange-hoods," as his followers were called, rapidly gained in numbers and influence, until they so overshadowed the " red-hoods," as the followers of the older sect were called, that in the middle of the 15th century the emperor of China acknowdedged the two leaders of the new sect at that time as the titular overlords of the church and tribu-tary rulers over the realm of Tibet. These two leaders were then known as the Dalai Lama and the Pantshen Lama, and were the abbots of the great monasteries at Gedun Dubpa, near Lhasa, and at Krashis Lunpo, in Further Tibet, respectively. Since that time the abbots of these monasteries have continued to exercise the sove-reignty over Tibet,—their pretensions being supported, in the few cases in which an attempt has been made to dis-pute it, by the power of Mongolia and China.

As there has been no further change in the doctrine, and no further reformation in discipline, we may leave the ecclesiastical history of Lamaism since that date unnoticed, and devote our little remaining spacs to the consideration of some principal points in the constitution of the Lamaism of to-day. And first as to the mode of electing successors to the two Great Lamas. It will have been noticed above that it was an old idea of the northern Buddhists to look upon distinguished members of the order as incarnations of Avalokitesvara, of Manju-srl, or of Amitabha. These beings were supposed to possess the power, whilst they themselves continued to live in heaven, of appearing also on earth in a Nirma,na-haya, or apparitional body. In the same way the Pantshen Lama is looked upon as an incarnation, the Nirmana-kaya, of Amitabha, who had previously appeared in that way under the outward form of Tshonkapa himself; and the Dalai Lama is looked upon as an incarnation of Avalokitesvara. Theoretically, there-fore, the former, as the spiritual successor of the great teacher and also of Amitabha, who occupies the higher place in the mythology of the Great Vehicle, would be superior to the latter, as the spiritual representative of Avalokitesvara. But practically the Dalai Lama, owing to his position in the capital, has the political supremacy, and is actually called the Gyalpo Rinpotshe, " the glorious king,"—his companion being content with the title Pantshen

Rinpotshe, "the glorious teacher." When either of them dies it is necessary for the other.to ascertain in whose body the celestial being whose outward form has been dissolved has been pleased again to incarnate himself. For that purpose the names of all male children born just after the death of the deceased Great Lama are laid before his survivor. He chooses three out of the whole number; their names are thrown into a golden casket provided for that purpose by a former emperor of China. The Chutuktus, or abbots of the great monasteries, then assemble, and after a week of prayer, the lots are drawn in their presence and in presence of the surviving Great Lama and of the Chinese political resident. The child whose name is first drawn is the future Great Lama ; the other two receive each of them 500 pieces of silver. The Chutuktus just mentioned correspond in many respects to the Boman cardinals. Like the Great Lamas, they bear the title of Binpotshe or Glorious, and are looked upon as incarnations of one or other of the celestial Bodisats of the Great Vehicle mythology. Their number varies from ten to a hundred ; and it is uncertain whether the honour is inherent in the abbacy of certain of the greatest cloisters, or whether the Dalai Lama exercises the right of choosing them. Under these high officials of the Tibetan hierarchy there come the Chubil Khans, who fill the post of abbot to the lesser monasteries, and are also incarnations. Their number is very large ; and there are but few monasteries in Tibet or in Mongolia who do not claim to possess one of these living Buddhas. Besides these mystical persons there are in the Tibetan Church a number of other ranks and degrees, corresponding to the deacon, full priest, dean, and doctor of divinity in the West. At the great yearly festival at Lhasa they make in the cathedral an imposing array, not much less magnificent than that of the clergy in Borne ; for the ancient simplicity of dress has quite dis-appeared in the growing differences of rank, and each division of the spiritual army is distinguished in Tibet, as in the West, by a special uniform. The political authority of the Dalai Lama is confined to Tibet itself, but he is the acknowledged head also of the Buddhist Church throughout Mongolia and China. He has no supremacy over his co-religionists in Japan, and even in China there are many Buddhists who are not practically under his control or influence.

The principal authorities for the history of Buddhism have already been given at the close of the article BUDDHISM. To these may now be added T. W. Rhys Davids's Buddhism, London, 1878 ; Buddhist Birth Stories, London, 1880 ; Buddhist Suttas from the Pali, Oxford, 1881 ; and Hibbert Lectures, London, 1881 ; also Bushell, "The Early History of Tibet," in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1879-80, vol. xii. ; Sanang Setsen's History of the East Mongols in Mongolian, translated into German by J. Schmidt (Geschichte der Ost-Mongolen); "Antuyse du Kandjur," by M. Léon Feer, in Annales ein Musée Gaimct, 1881 ; Schott, lieber 'den Buddhismus in Hoch-Asien ; Gutzlaff, Geschichte des Chinesischen Reiches ; Hue and Gabet, Souvenirs d'un Voyage dans la Tartaric, le Tibet, et la Chine, Paris, 1858 ; Pallas's Sammlung historischer Nachrichten über die Mongolischen Völkerschaften; and Bäbu Sarat Chunder Das's " Contributions on the Religion and History of Tibet, " in the Journal of the Bengal Asiatic Society, 1881. (T. W. R. D.)


See, for instance, the Buddhist Birth Stories, pp. 19-27 and 53-58.

Edited by Dr V. Trenckner, London, 1880.

1 Rémusat's translation, Mémoires sur les Contrées Occidentales, p. 270 ; and La Vie de Hiouen Thsançf, p. 94.
Introduction, &c, p. 558.

Published with facsimile and translation and notes in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society for 1879-80, vol. xii

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