The World's Living Religions
Dr. W. Noble King
Bethany Nazarene College
All Rights Reserved
This document consists of
notes taken by students who attended Dr. King's class at Bethany Nazarene
College. The notes therefore reflect student response to Dr. King's lectures
and do not necessarily represent fully or accurately his thought in all
I talked to Conley
Henderson and he said that his notes ended where Laverne's ended. As he
thinks about it, he feels sure that they were only in the class for 6 weeks
and did not finish the course as Dr. King left for Canada in mid July,
before there could be a second semester. [JR] ***....***
1. 1500 pages from approved
textual and collateral areas.
2. Write one term theme
on an approved subject, typed in thesis form and possibly to be read in
3. Other class written reports
from time to time may be suggested.
4. Sketched maps of all
the countries dealt with in these religions.
5. Probably at least two
Barton, George A. The Religions
of the World. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1935.
Berry, G. L. In The
Religions of the World, ed. Carl Clemen: New York: Harcourt, Brace &
Braden, Charles S. Jesus
Compared. New York: Prentice Hall, 1957.
Champion, S. G. The
Eleven Religions. 1945.
Clarke, J. F. Ten
Great Religions . New York: J. R. Osgood & Co., 1872.
Hopkins, E. W. The Religions
of India. 1885.
Hume, R. E. The World's
Living Religions.. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1927.
Hunter, W. W. A Brief
History of the Indian People. London: Turner & Co., 1882.
Kellogg, S. H. Handbook
of Comparative Religions.
Marshall, E. A. Christianity
and Non-Christian Religions Compared. Chicago: Bible Institute Colportage
McLear, G. F. The
Celts. London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1878.
Menzies, Adam. History
Pratt, J. B. The Pilgrimage
of Buddhism. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1928.
Soper, Edmund. The Faiths
of Mankind. Association Press, 1928.
Soper Edmund. The
Religions of Mankind. New York & Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1938.
Stevenson, Mrs. Sinclair.
The Heart of Jainism. London: Oxford University Press, 1915.
Trever, G. H. Studies In
Comparative Theology. Cincinnati: Curtis & Jennings, 1897.
1. We should bear in mind
that it is probably correct that most religions did have a unitary beginning
in Eden. Nature was the only written revelation, and God did occasionally
speak as He spoke to Adam and Eve in the Garden. Their intuitional
understanding would have been keen.
2. With the entrance of
sin and the added accumulative effect of sin, truth was lost or twisted,
and error entered, or changes were added as groups went to their separate
ways. What we call heathen or pagan religion was the result.
3. Judaism and later Christianity
were efforts to get back the original revelation, and clarify it and add
thereto. However, both Judaism and Christianity have had the same
fight to retain the truth and preserve it for the future. It too
has been twisted rather badly at times.
4. Thus any good, or anything
of value retained by non-Christian religions would be due to prevenient
grace. There are national, social, moral, and psychological goods
retained, but redemptive truths are possibly all gone. Christianity
contains those retained goods, and also contains the lost truths which,
of course, are greatly enhanced by Christianity. We must not merely
study those pagan religions to observe their weaknesses and to glory in
the superiority of Christianity, although both will be in evidence.
5. The Persian province
of Bactria was probably the original home of the Aryans as a race.
There they developed agriculture, a social culture, and a language.
Migrations between B.C. 2000 or probably 2500 down to B.C. 1500, moved
across the Indus River southeast into what we now call India. Their
earliest known language was what we call Sanskrit. Migrations from
this same Bactria, B.C. 1500 or earlier down to about B.C. 400 or 300 moved
into Europe and they constituted the early Greeks or Trojans, Nordics,
Teutons, and Slavs and Celts. Thus we talk about the Indo-European
peoples, and most Europeans have Greek and/or Latin in the background,
and Greek and Latin has Sanskrit in the background.
a. Of Druidism, Maclean
wrote Druidism is essentially oriental, and corresponds in many important
particulars with a simple and spiritual character of the Persian theosophy,
teaching the purity of the Godhead as a metaphysical abstraction, the eternity
of the soul's existence by transmigration (The Celts, pp. 15-16).
b. The Druids also had a
strong tendency to deify the elements or forms of nature. In this
regard, Caesar saw a strong resemblance between the Druid system of religion
and the Greek Olympiad system of religion. There is also a resemblance
in the ancient religions of the Norsemen and the Celts and Greeks (Berry,
in Religions of the World, pp. 21-22).
1. A deity should possess
at least five characteristics:
a. Super-human in essence
b. Invisible to the physical
c. Power of control over
the natural world and over man
d. Responsive to those who
obey and regard him worshipfully
e. Must be worshipful and
adorable in his own right
2. Deities may be regarded
as metaphysically non-personal or polytheistic, a uni-theistic, or even
limited in themselves, or at the mercy of greater powers than themselves.
With this we shall deal later.
3. Twelve historical religions
have for the most part passed away.
a. One in Africa: the North
African or the religion of Egype
b. Two in the Americas:
the religions of ancient Peru and of Mexico
c. Five in Asia: Mithraism,
Manichaeism, then the religion of Babylon and Phoenicia and Hittites
d. Four in Europe: ancient
Greeks, Romans, early Teutons, and Scandinavianism
e. These 12 religions were
ethically lower than the 11 that have survived. A religion apparently
must have value of some kind before it can exist for long.
4. Now Brahmanism must be
highly considered, as it was the earliest form of religion among the Aryan
people. It merged with Buddhism into what we now call Hinduism under
the early influence of Buddhism. It is now neither a living nor a
dead religion, as it is what we now call Hinduism.
a. The earliest religion
of India was animistic. Then the Aryan invaders came in with a nature
religion and built up an elaborate ritual. Animism and naturism flowed
together very readily. The introduction of the Aryans was written
into the Vedas (wise sayings).
b. The Aryans built a caste
system to preserve their identity. The Brahmans were the priests
or top men. The warriors and rulers were next. The merchants
and traders were next. The Sudras or miscellaneous groups were last.
c. All castes maintain their
identity, but particularly the Brahmans. Brahmans were thus an hereditary
caste, or priesthood. They became rich and powerful in society and
politics and corrupt in social living. The name Brahman was the name
of one of the first Aryan invaders of India. But no one man founded
Brahmanism or Hinduism. There was a trinity or triad that survived
in both Brahmanism and Hinduism. Brahma, the creator of the other
two: Vishnu, the preserver, originally a Vedic sun god, became very popular
with the masses because of his power of re-incarnation. They thus
gathered the idea of reincarnation from nature. Shiva (Siva), the
destroyer and re-builder of life, was the most popular in spite of the
fact that he advocated more pain, self-mutilation, misery, and solitary
meditation. All three gods were males and had wives.
d. As Brahmanism moved into
the Ganges area and a new spirit of hopeless despair and a longing to get
rid of conscious existence. This desire is expressed in the Upanishads,
written between B.C. 800 and 600. They abolished most of the old
gods, but kept Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva.
e. There is no reflection
of the Christian Trinity in this Brahmanistic trinity. This trinity
is a triad, the lesser two having been created by the former one.
Each off the three is often at war with the others (Marshall, Christianity
and Non-Christian Religions Compared, p. 71). They possessed no unified
harmonious interest in each other, or in the welfare of mankind.
f. The ultimate good to
be aimed at in Brahmanism and Hinduism is liberation, or absorption into
the AIt, or Nirvana, a state of mind rather than a physical or conscious
state. Only by complete annihilation of the conscious being, or of
the ego itself could the individual gain Nirvana. This was achieved
by transmigrations, one of the last of which was to become a Brahman.
However, when he reached Nirvana, he would never know that he reached it.
g. Death was merely an interval
between periods of conscious existence or transmigration. As soon
as the influence of one's good deeds was used up, he returned to the earth
in a new form for better or for worse. Man had thus to work out his
own end without the direction, aid, or sympathy; without any help.
This prompted bodily purity, unselfishness, self-restraint, and a sense
h. One universal Idea or
absolute Spirit or ultimate Essence or Power is the AIt or Nirvana.
This power in action is creation, and when not in action, it itself does
not exist. Thus everything is unreal and a delusion. Being
a delusion, it is unreal and only creates misery, and thus should be gotten
rid of. Brahma becomes the name of an idea which is actually a delusion,
or an idea that both is and is not.
i. Everything is God and
God is everything. Nothing exists but one universal Spirit who created
Brahma from whose mouth the triad of gods came. Thus, one supreme
god created the universe and all lesser gods. He himself is part
of everything and everything is part of him. From him comes all the
evolution of nature (Marshall, p. 15). He is thus the power back
of the power of nature, and is a non-personal abstraction.
j. The human soul is thus
a portion of the universal spirit. The soul's transmigration will
finally bring it back to where it will be absorbed into Brahma, from whence
it came. Brahmanism thus teaches since I am part of God, and God
is part of me, I cannot be held responsible for my actions. Whatever
he may do in me must be right, because it is God that does it. Sin
is an illusion. A Brahman can lie, quarrel, slander without thinking
it is sin. But a Brahman dare not touch another caste, as that would
reduce his karma.
k. The salvation of the Brahmans
is the union of the soul with Brahma. This is gained through transmigration.
The individual soul comes from Brahma like a drop of water comes from the
ocean. It returns to Brahma as a drop of water returns to the ocean.
Consciousness of being did not exist before it became a drop of water,
and consciousness is lost as it returns to the ocean. This is their
favorite analogy. Hell is the in-between state.
l. As long as a soul wishes
anything, it will continue to suffer and to migrate. The very early
Vedic did not have transmigrations. The idea of a resurrection
in Brahmanism or in present Hinduism is a take-over from Christianity.
m. Vedism, Brahmanism, and
then Hinduism is the successive order of this religion in India.
The Vedas were the earliest sacred writings of the Aryan race. There
are 1017 hymns in the Rig-Veda. In the Bhagavad-Gita it is said that
Brahma, by a penitence of 15,000 years, created the universe.
n. Women were at first in
a high place in Brahmanism, but later became a mere slave to her husband.
Her face had to be veiled to all but her husband. Girls were also
married to the gods, and thus became temple prostitutes.
o. Human sacrifice was once
practiced by the Brahmans, but has now completely disappeared. All
life, both animal and insect, is now sacred. Due to the influence
of the West, idol worship is put down somewhat. Female education
is promoted. Infant marriage is frowned upon. Remarriage of
widows is not allowed.
5. It is interesting to
note that most of the 11 dead religions were European or American or western
Asiatic. Without human founders, without authoritative scriptures,
and without great saints or types, they were lower ethically and more cruel
and bloodthirsty. They had less to offer the intellect.
a. Six of the 11 originated
about the sixth century B.C. They are: Shintoism (B.C. 660), Zoroastrianism
(B.C. 660), Confucianism (B.C. 551). This is the Hebrew period after
the Assyrian captivity to the Babylonian captivity. Some of the greatest
prophets lived during this period. One would think that God was making
a special effort to get through to mankind.
b. Christianity, Buddhism,
and Mohammedanism are regarded as world religions, and the others as national
or ethnic religions. However, some of the others did go beyond the
bounds of their origin.
c. Their present standing
with regard to belief in a deity is as follows:
i. Six are theistic in origin:
Christianity, Judaism, Mohammedanism, Zoroastrianism, Taoism, and Sikhism.
ii. Two started with no
deity of any kind: Buddhism and Jainism.
iii. Three grew out of a
polytheistic nature worship: Hinduism, Confucianism, and Shintoism.
d. Some of the world's living
religions have passed through periods of great change with regard to belief
in deity. Those which started with no deity have had a tendency to
either smuggle one in, or to so regard the founder. As they now stand,
they may be classed as follows:
i. Monotheistic: Judaism,
Christianity, Mohammedanism, Sikhism
ii. Approximating monotheism:
iii. Practical polytheism:
Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism.
e. Three of the religions
under discussion carry the direct names of their founder:
6. Three of religions under
discussion carry historic title of founder: Jina (Mahavira)
a. Mahavira was called Jina,
or the conqueror
b. Gautama was called the
Buddha or the enlightened one
c. Jesus was called the
Christ, meaning the anointed one
7. Four of the religions
were named from some outstanding principle:
a. Taoism, meaning the divine
b. Shintoism, meaning the
way of the Gods
c. Mohammedanism is also
called Islam, meaning submission
d. Sikhism, meaning the
religion of the disciples
8. Asia was the birthplace
of every one of the world's living religions
a. Southeast Asia produced
Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism
b. Eastern Asia produced
Confucianism, Taoism, Shintoism
c. West Asia produced Judaism,
Christianity, Zoroastrianism, Mohammedanism
9. Three are dying numerically:
Jainism, Shintoism, and Zoroastrianism. Four are relatively static:
Judaism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism. Four are growing numerically:
Confucianism, Hinduism, Mohammedanism, Christianity.
10. There are differences
of vitality and growth with regard to the same groups in different places.
For instance, Zoroastrianism is dying in its original home (Persia) but
is doing much better in India under the name Parseism. Buddhism has
been absorbed by Hinduism in India, but is at a standstill in Ceylon, Tibet,
and Burma, but it is active in China and Japan. Christianity is near
extinction in its original home and in western Asia, but it is strong in
the West generally.
11. Nine of the living religions
do not hold themselves unique from all other religions, i.e., they grant
a redemptive good in each other. Judaism and Christianity, however,
have a strong tendency to discount other religions. This at least
is true at their fountainheads. The founder of Christianity regarded
himself as God in flesh and the only way back to forgiveness for sins.
He is the only begotten Son of God in a unique sense. Other men could
become sons of God by faith in Him, but not otherwise. Christianity
is thus from the first to last redemptive. In this sense it itself
in its nature forbids comparison with other religions.
12. A recognition of the
individual as an individual of great value seems to be necessary to permanence
in religion. Also a deity of some kind seems to be necessary to the
permanency of religion. Nevertheless, the conceptions of deity vary
a. As to number: monotheism,
b. As to personality: personal,
impersonal, or just awesome power
c. As to power: limited
d. As to morality: morally
responsible, morally irresponsible
Then again, religion may
be given an intellectual or aesthetic or power-imparting or social, or
emotional, or self-aggrandizing, idealizing, or an individualist character
1. Adherence and areas.
Hinduism is accredited with 285,000 in the Americas, 255,031,000 in Eurasia,
and 400,000 in Africa and Oceana, making a grand total of 255,716,000.
Its major stronghold is in India proper, with smaller outposts in Pakistan,
Burma, Ceylon, Bali, South Africa, Trinidad, and in the Fiji Islands.
It is one of the oldest living faiths. Traces of Hindu practices
are to be found in the Indus Valley (Bactria) civilization, which dates
back to the fourth millennium B.C.
2. Origin of
the name. The name Hinduism is not of Indian origin. The term
Hindu is a Persian form of Sidhu, which means originally the region watered
by the Indus River, and the people who inhabited it. The religion
possessed by them thus came to be known as Hinduism. Thus Buddhism
was Brahmanism and both were or became known as Hinduism.
3. As far as Hinduism
is concerned, one could be a Hindu and also anything else. In 1938,
Mahatma Ghandi said, My Hinduism is not sectarian. It includes all
that I know to be the best in Islam, Christianity, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism
. . . . Truth is my religion, and non-violence is the only way of its realization.
Later attempting to define Hinduism, he said, If I were asked to define
the Hindu creed, I should simply say, search after Truth through non-violence.
1. The nature of ultimate
a. God: From the beginning,
He has been recognized. Two main lines of thought with regard to
God. They: theistic, and absolutistic.
i. The theistic. A
cosmic creator called God is recognized. He is creator, preserver,
and destroyer. This gives rise to the Hinduistic triad of Brahma,
Vishnu, and Siva. Creation is an emergence or a transformation.
This emergence does not affect God (world-ground). We may refer to
God as He or She or an It. God is the divine primal power, but not
personal as we use that term.
ii. The absolutistic.
Ultimate reality is distinction-less. Distinctions such as substance
and attributes, agent and patient, created and uncreated, God and world
can occur only in relative experience. The absolute, which is called
Brahman or Atman, has no attributes. It is not a creator producing
the world, either out of itself, or out of extraneous matter. For
it, there is not real becoming. The world is only maya, i.e. an illusion
of the absolute. It is not the real, only its mirage-like projection.
1. In the theistic view,
the non-personal Primal Power is responsible for all. That is, the
world and nature emerge from this Power of transformations. This
primal power is still within the emergence as one. In the absolutist
view, this mirage-like illusion is what we call the world and nature.
b. The human soul or spirit
is an emergence from God or Brahma. It passes through various transmigrations
and is again absorbed into Brahma. It is only consciousness of being
while passing through its transmigrations. It was not conscious of
being before it emerged, and it is not conscious of being after it is re-absorbed.
While in its transmigration, it is either an extension of God, or it is
an illusion caused by God.
c. Every being which possesses
senses is a soul. Self-consciousness is necessary to make progress.
Man alone has self-consciousness, so man alone is capable of making progress.
All other creatures must be born into the human species before they can
progress toward the goal of perfection. (Collier's Encyclopedia,
d. Souls are not created,
as they are mere emanations of the divine. Nirvana or heaven is not
a conscious state. Hell or purgatory is the period of consciousness
of being. Sin is not a personal matter such as immorality or dishonesty
or deception, etc. It would be anything that would disregard the
laws of Karma. Breaking caste or disregarding social or political
levels or classes is sin.
e. Karma. Karma is
the law of the deed or the following results of the deed. It is merely
the law of sowing and reaping in kind. There is not escape from this
law other than letting the law run its course. The law runs in both
directions; either for good or for evil. He is thus assigned to a
higher or lower level in the next transmigration. Apparently the
results of the deed are inherent in the nature of the deed. Karma
2. The caste system is four-fold
a. The Brahma. This
caste consists of the priestly and intellectual caste. This caste
is the custodian of the spiritual culture of the race. His first
duty is to cultivate and spread spiritual ideas. He is the friend,
the philosopher, the guide of humanity. He is not to burden himself
with worldly goods, and society is to keep him above want. According
to the Bhagavad-gita, his virtues are serenity, self-control, austerity,
purity, forbearance, uprightness, knowledge, insight, and faith.
A good Brahman is one step short of Nirvana. (Nirvana is thought
to be a state of mind or extinction: Berry, in Religions of the World,
b. The kshatriyas.
It is the guardian of the society. It is society's protector or preserver.
He is the soldier who fights for the freedom of the race, and the one who
keeps the peace of the land. He must have the qualities of heroism,
vigor, firmness, resourcefulness, and dauntlessness in battle. He
is the soldier-ruler.
c. The Vaishyas. This
caste is composed of economic experts. They arrange for the production
and distribution of wealth. The Gita enumerates three of the important
professions of the Vaishyas: agriculture, cattle raising, and trade.
They were both agriculturalists and artisans.
d. The Sudras. This
caste is compared of the workers or manual laborers; i.e. all those below
the other castes.
e. (Hume, p. 18, states
that the process of subdivision within the castes has continued until there
are over 2000 such sub-divisions. So also every attribute of God
and every mystery in nature.
3. The Hindu sacred scriptures.
Inspiration of some sort is not a new idea in religion. Later Buddhism
had it. Hinduism had it. Mohammedanism had and has it.
Judaism had it. Christianity has it. Christianity, however,
has it nearer to the verbally inspired idea; as a personal God can talk
to persons, while an impersonal God cannot. We could also here observe
that five religions hold to some kind of supernatural original of the formula:
Buddha, Lao-Tze, Mahavira, Zoroaster, and Christianity. Again, Christianity
explains every step as it is a matter of revelation from rational entities
to rational entities. The sacred scriptures of Hinduism are called Vedas
or Books of Knowledge.
a. The four earliest Vedas
are held by most scholars to have been produced between B.C. 1000 and 1500.
It could well be that some were earlier. All four were composed before
i. The Rig-Veda or the Veda
of verses or songs. It is a collection of about 1028 lyrics.
The Hindus regarded it as inspired, and given before the world was.
It deals with nature objects. It is composed of psalms to almost
everything in nature.
ii. The Yajur-Veda: the
Vedas of chants and worship
iii. The Sama-Veda: the
Vedas of chants of worship
iv. The Atharva-Veda: the
Vedas of charms in living and in worship.
b. The Brahamanas: produced
between 1000 and 800 BC, represent priestly Hinduism. Prayers and
sacrifices on the priestly level are set forth.
c. The Upanishads contain
philosophic Hinduism. Hindus were fond of philosophic speculation.
Here the speculation is centered around Brahma. All the Vedic deities
are to be regarded as manifestation of the one Power at the heart of the
world. Prayer becomes a contacting power wielded by the priests with
this central Power. In philosophic Hinduism, Brahma is to be interpreted
as the absolute, infinite, eternal, omnipotent, impersonal, indescribably
neuter Being. Brahma may also be described as spirit (atman, or world
soul) into which the individual spirit is to merge. There are possibly
i. The world with its changing
phenomena must be regarded as illusions by the infinite abiding Reality,
Brahma. As the individual is part of Brahma, there can be no distinction
ethically between right and wrong, or good and evil, because the individual
is in oneness with the supernatural Being.
ii. Salvation for the philosophers
is attained through serene thought on the Supreme Being: he thinks of his
oneness and thinks himself in. The Upanishads would have been produced
after B.C.800 and 600.
d. The Laws of Manu.
This is legalistic Hinduism produced about B.C.250. Those laws were
the highest of several codes of Hindu law.
i. The Laws of Manu teach
the sacredness and saving efficacy of the Vedas and also the permanence
of Hindu sacrifice and also sanction war.
ii. Philosophic knowledge
of Brahma-Atman and the final release from the law of transmigration.
The castes are regarded as primal creations with the world.
iii. The Brahma, by the
fact of his caste-birth, has been placed in the supremacy, and the lower
castes have been placed in a position of permanent inferiority.
iv. All modern innovations
contrary to the Vedas are condemned as false and worthless, and then salvation
in Manu is to be obtained chiefly in obedience to law, particularly law
e. The Bhagavad-Gita was
and is the devotional literature of Hinduism, produced approximately 1
AD. The Bhagavad-Gita was the first to be translated into English
and was so chiefly by Charles Williams, a Sanskrit scholar, in about 1785.
It is a stirring poem and begins at the beginning of a battle. A
knight by the name of Arjuna, for the first time in recorded Hinduism,
raises the question about the propriety of killing people in war.
His charioteer allays his conscience by a remarkable discourse upon the
immortality and destiny of the soul. The chief speaker in the Bhagavad-Gita
proves to be the deity Krishna in the form of the charioteer.
i. The Bhagavad-Gita offers
salvation to all sinners including women and low caste sudras. The
four castes, however, were not set aside.
ii. Krishna is regarded
nearly as a person in the Bhagavad-Gita. Salvation consists in personal
devotion to a personal deity. Do your caste's duty, and trust your
God for the rest of your salvation.
f. The Epic of Purana.
This is popular Hinduism. From 1 A.D. to 250 A.D. The most
effective agencies for popularizing Hinduism were the two great epics:
the Mahabharata (or the Great Bharata War) and the Ramayama (or the Career
of the God Rama). Also the collections of ancient religious stories
called Puranas. These were such religious tales.
Elements of supposed strengths
The unity of Reality
Possible union with the
Belief in a future existence-conscious
Belief in the solidarity
of human society
The permeation of religion
in all departments of life
The social unity of the
groups in India for centuries
Elements of supposed weakness
Supreme Being is impersonal
No moral ideal for the individual
No moral standards for the
whole; just castes
No improvement in one's
social status until after death
No possible improvement
in society as a whole
No person out there who cares
Pantheism justifies idolatry.
Thus, every power and mystery becomes an idol
Inert castes which doomed
people to poverty and misery
Low position of women
No great historic figure
Low immorality connected
with temple worship
From the viewpoint of evangelical
Christianity, one could bring many and serious charges against it not mentioned
here. The whole system would be evil if it stood between them and
something better. But if they could get nothing better, it is probably
of some value.
Closing note: Indra,
god of the mountains and the thunderbolt, and rain, and celebrated in a
quarter of the Vedic hymns in the ancient Hindu religion. The great
national god of the Indo-Aryans, Indra, was brought into India at about
B.C. 1500 by the conquering Aryans. He came with a thundering voice,
bringing rain and storms, and with a mighty sword, he overcame the people's
enemies. (Collier's Encyclopedia, Encylcopedia of Religion and Ethics,
Hume, Berry, Marshall)
Jainism is an oriental religion
in India for the most part, but little known. It has only about 1
million adherents, but it exercises an influence which is far greater than
that would suggest. They live mostly in the cities and are merchants
and have acquired great wealth.
Jainism is the oldest personally
founded religion in India. (Both Brahmanism and Hinduism as far as
is known had no personal founder.) Jainism was the first reform movement
in Hinduism. Buddhism followed 32 years later as the second.
Jainism has confined itself pretty much to India alone.
A. The founder
a. The founder, Vardhamana
Mahavira, was born in the suburb of Vaisali, the capitol of Videha, the
ruins of which lie as yet unexplored at Besarh, about 25 miles from Patna.
His mother is said to have had 14 marvelous dreams respecting him, and
the family is said to have met with prosperity (Stevenson, The Heart of
Jainism, chap. 3).
b. As a matter of fact Mahavira
was born the second son of a petty rajah of the Vijjian clan in north India
in a district that was a free aristocratic republic (Stevenson).
c. His palace life (birth
to 30 years of age)
i. He was thus reared in
comparative luxury and finally married into another princely family and
had one daughter (Hume, p. 44)
ii. At 30 years of age,
he made the Great Renunciation. It was at that time that his parents
died, and he determined to become an ascetic, which was one of Hinduism's
ways of attaining salvation.
d From 30 to 42, he
neglected and even ill-treated his own body. At the end of that 12
year period, he is said to have attained nirvana. He was regarded
as the last of a series of 24 saviors.
e From age 42 up to
72, he preached the new religion of asceticism. He also declared
that there was no deity to worship. Yet after his death, his followers
worshiped and prayed to him, holding that he was pre-existent before his
physical birth, merely incarnated on earth in human form.
B Land and Literature.
a It is an organization
in the land of India. Both Mohandas Karandchand Ghandi and Jawaharlal
Nehru were adherents of this sect of Hinduism. The Jains live chiefly
in the Bombay presidency, but are to be found in upper India and some in
the west and south and along the Ganges. They live mostly in towns
and are well off, and for India, well educated
b Dates. Mahavira
was born in B.C. 599. His religious efforts started when he was 30.
Hence that would make Jainism's birth about B.C. 566. Jainism is,
however, generally dated at the time of Mahavira's birth. Eventually
there were several sects in Jainism.
i. The Sky-Clad sect, led
by Digambaras and the White-Clad sect, led by Shivetambaras, constitute
the two main sects of Jainism. They operated in part, at best, in
early history of Jainism. Later they completely separated over the
problem of clothes. This problem was due in part to famine, and under
the leadership of Bhadrabaha, the Sky-clad set migrated to south India
and dispensed with clothes. The White-clad sect, living in north
India where it was much colder, did not dispense with clothes. Under
the later influence of the Mohammedans, they were compelled to at
least wear a loincloth. (Hume, 52ff)
ii. There was a third sect
or group of some importance. It was a non-idolatrous sect, the Sthanakvasis,
founded by a white clad reformer who in 1474 A.D. observed that certain
Jain scriptures made no reference to idols.
i. The inclusive name
for the scriptures of Jainism is Agamas (precepts), or Siddhartas (treatises).
ii. Technically classified,
they would be something like this: 11 Angas and 12 Upangas, and 10 Piannas
and 6 Chhedasutras, and 2 Sutras and 4 Mulasutras.
iii. There is also constant
reference in this literature to a class of writing called Purvas, or primitive
scriptures, which took form, perhaps, about the fourth century B.C., but
are either now lost or are embodied in the Angas. The Angas are the
oldest part of the canon, which at present embrace 45 texts. The
Angas are said to have been written 200 years after the death of the founder.
The Jain scriptures and commentaries thereon are written in Prakrit, the
common vernacular, and in Sanskrit. Both are now dead languages.
The Jains generally know but little of the scriptures.
C God and Man, etc.
i. Mahavira rejected the
then current Hindu polytheistic belief in various natural and supernatural
powers. He also condemned the practice of praying to and talking
about a deity. Monks and nuns should not say that the gods did so-and-so,
with regard to natural happenings, but rather that nature did it.
ii. Thus the Jains did not
believe in one Supreme Being, and hence acknowledge no personal god such
as a creator, father, friend. Yet they resist being called atheists.
This probably is due to the fact that they do not deny presence of
divine power. They don't, however, pray to those powers or personalize
iii. They do hold that innumerable
men with like passions with themselves have by steadily eradicating all
that belongs to personality pass to take their place among the siddha in
a still land of endless inactivity. There none is first, or second,
but each is equal with the others. None takes any interest in human
toilers who are climbing the steep ascent to the goal that they have already
b Man. Man's
personality is dual: natural and spiritual. By his spiritual powers
he can and must control his physical nature. Man is born alone.
He dies alone. He falls alone. He rises alone. His passions,
consciousness, intellect, perception, and the impression individually belong
to him alone. Another cannot save him, nor help him. He grows
old. His hair turns white. Even his body must be relinquished.
None can stay the hours. Man, thou art thine own friend. Why
wishest thou for a friend beyond thyself?
i. The soul of man, etc.
Jainism believed in the existence of souls inside of all living things,
including man. The most minute vermin have souls. Also in seeds,
plants, rivers, mountains, sun, moon and stars; in so-called gods and even
in drops of water.
ii. Mundane souls are the
embodied souls of living beings still subject to re-birth. Liberated
souls have accomplished absolute purity, and are embodied no more.
The soul is directly responsible for all that it does. Furthermore,
soul and life are translated from the same word.
c Salvation is effected
if at all by asceticism, by which one is freed from all desires of every
kind. When the spiritual nature conquers the physical nature, one
is a conqueror.
i. Jains can have no concept
of sin, and the Jains recognize no gods against whom no sin can be committed.
Jains can only sin against themselves, and by so doing lose ground in their
ii. The flesh is the source
of evil, and sin would be the positive attitude toward that which would
appease one in the upward way. Salvation is thus by self-discipline.
a A perfect Jain is
an ascetic, humble and inoffensive. Jains are as a rule well-spoken
of. When persecuted, they do not retaliate. By so doing or
acting, they think that they will be freed from the law of Karma.
They are good business men and have had much success in commerce.
i. Love and hatred are both
abandoned, as they are forms of attachment. By conquering love and
hate and wrong beliefs, he will be cut off from the fetters of Karma (SBE,
Sec. 45, 122). The monk who loves not even those who
love him will be freed from sin and hatred. They were to beg at the
humblest of homes and eat the poorest and even the dirtiest kinds of foods.
Thus the chief virtues of Jainism are mendicant, asceticism, and non-injury.
Jain ethics have for their end and realization of moksha (Hume, 49-50).
ii. Vows and Jewels.
Do not kill. Do not lie. Do not steal. Abstain from sexual
intercourse. Renounce all worldly things such as property, etc.
Jewels: right faith, right knowledge, right conduct. These are the
necessary virtues to enter Nirvana. The best of virtues are passionless.
b Features of Jainism
i. The Jains have no real
heaven, but they have a place of utter inaction called Moksha or Moksa
or Nirvana in which there probably is individual consciousness.
ii. At least, according
to the Digambara sect of Jainism, women have to be born men before they
can be saved. They hold around eight rebirths, constantly on the
upper trend. This would get rid of Karma.
iii. The Jains had a profound
respect for life. They strain water before drinking, and sometimes
wear cloths over their mouths to prevent them breathing in flies.
Sometimes they carry around little brooms with which to sweep insects out
of their way. Mahavira is said to have fulfilled the law by allowing gnats,
flies, and other things to both bite and crawl over him for 4 months.
iv. Jainism is said to have
been the first heathenistic missionary religion with the first free assembly.
It, however, denies a personal god. It worships man, and feeds vermin.
Some of Mahavira's contemporaries were Buddha, Confucius, Lao-Tze, Zoroaster,
Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Thales, Anaximander, Anaximienes, Xenophanes,
v. The defilement of the
soul takes place in the following matter: subtle matter ready to be transformed
into Karma pours into the soul, and enters into a chemical combination
with it. This is called the binding. This subtle matter is
transformed into 8 kinds of Karma, and thus forms a subtle body, which
clings to the soul through all rebirths. Each different Karma requires
a rebirth to dispose of it.
vi. Jainism is said to represent
a theological mean (average) between Brahmanism and Buddhism (Hopkins,
Religions of India, p. 289)
In view of the fact that Jainism sprang from Hinduism, we shall therefore
observe a few points with regard to similarities and dissimilarities.
i. Mahavira born, lived,
died in Hindu faith. He himself did not reject Hinduism, and Hinduism
did not reject him. He also continued to hold Hindu beliefs in Karma
ii. Both Hinduism and Jainism
flourished in India, and nowhere else to any marked degree. As time
moved on, both again became similar in that they had deities of their own.
He held to its Krishna, Rama, Vishnu, and Siva, or Brahma, Vishnu, and
Siva. Jainism worshiped Mahavira as well as other gods. Both
were polytheistic, with idols and temples. (Some Brahman priests
officiate in Jain temples.) Both now have the caste system, at least
in principle. The differences between the two systems are becoming
At the beginning of Jainism there were many more points of disagreement
than agreement between Jainism and Hinduism.
i. Hinduism held to an impersonal
deity. Jainism held to no deity at all.
ii. Hinduism held to a monistic
view, the soul being part of the world-soul. Jainism held to a dualism,
denying the world-soul, but holding to matter.
iii. Hinduism practiced
animal sacrifice at first at least. Jainism protected against it.
iv. Hinduism held to the
castes as such. Jainism held to the equality of all man in spite
of castes as such.
v. Hinduism relied on prayers
and sacrifices, etc. for salvation. Jainism believed in self-salvation,
and thus threw out prayer.
vi. Hinduism had scriptures
in archaic Sanskrit. Jainism believed in making use of the vernacular.
WORLD'S LIVING RELIGIONS
1. We shall open our
sketch of Buddhism with a sketch of the life of its founder, Gautama Buddha,
the enlightened one.
A Brahmanism seriously
degenerated. Aryans long before the 6th century B.C. settled in the
Ganges River area. The simple way of life so manifest in the Vedas
had long since passed away. Worship of nature had degenerated into
worship of new and less pure divinities. The Vedic songs had faded
into an obscure, unintelligible something with meaning only for the priestly.
The country was also split into principalities for the most part governed
by petty despots. There were, however, about a dozen free republics
with aristocratic governments. In these republics the reform movements
met with support.
B A convenient belief
in transmigration satisfied the unfortunates who thought that their words
were due to the natural results of this belief, and though unavoidable
now, might be escaped in a future state of existence by good conduct in
this present existence. Occasionally ascetics strove to rise above
the supposed degenerated condition of the gods, and hermits earnestly sought
for some satisfactory solution.
C The Sakya clan,
which was at that time a free aristocratic republic, and was situated on
a tract of country covering two or three thousand square miles, rose into
prominence. The chief town was Kapilavastu, which was situated a
little distance north of Benares. Suddhodana was the chief of this
clan. His headquarters was at Kapilavastu. He had married the
two daughters of a neighboring peaceful chief. For years both of
those women were childless. However, in the course of time, the elder
one gave birth to a son. She and a group started for her parents'
home, where she intended her child to be born. The party halted for
the night under a group of lofty satin[?] trees in a pleasant and beautiful
garden. Then that night, the future Buddha was born.
D It is said that
the young prince shunned his playmates at play and spent his time alone
in the woods of his father's garden. On reaching manhood, however,
he showed himself strong, brave, and skilled in weapons of war. He
won his wife by a contest at arms over all rival chiefs. For a time
it is said he forgot the religious meditations of his early boyhood and
plunged into the gaieties and pleasures of the world. He tasted all
that the world had to offer, and discovered to his disappointment that
all such excesses were not satisfying
E As he drove through
the city once, he saw a helpless old person, a diseased person, and a dead
person. He then met a so-called holy person indifferent in his sublime
calm to all about him. Gautama envied the holy man, who seemed to
have raised his soul above the cares of life.
F After a period of
about 10 years, his wife bore him a son. Gautama, fearing lest this
new tie should bind him too closely to the things of this earth, retired
to a jungle cave. He was than about 30 years old. The story
is told how he turned away from his wife's chamber, denying himself even
a parting caress of his newborn son. He then sprang on his horse
and galloped off into the night.
G After a gloomy night's
ride, he sent back his one companion, his faithful charioteer with his
horse and jewels, to his father. He then cut off his long warrior
hair and exchanged his princely raiment for the rags of a poor passer-by.
This constitutes his great renunciation, seldom equaled in world history,
and just as seldom surpassed. It supplies a favorite theme for the
Buddhist scriptures (W. W. Hunter, Brief History of Indian People, p. 74)
H Then for a time
between 29 and 35 years old, he studied under two Brahman hermits in the
Patro district. They taught that the peace which the human soul longed
for could be found only by mortifying the human body. He then buried
himself deeper in the jungles near Gaya. For six years with five
others he wasted himself with physical austerities. This resulted
in religious despair. He then made up his mind that the path to salvation
did not lie in self-torture and consequently he gave up penance or self-torture.
His five companions, shocked at this resolution, forsook him. He
was then alone indeed.
I The Buddhist scriptures
depict him as sitting under a Bo tree (fig tree), while demons whirl around
him with flaming weapons. From this temptation he came forth with
all his doubts forever laid aside. He than became the Buddha, the
J Buddha then began
his public career teaching in the forest near the city of Benares.
He preached to the poor people, and his first converts were common men,
with a smattering of women among them.
a After an intense
period of about three months preaching and teaching, he gathered together
about 60 disciples. These he sent forth to the neighboring countries
with the following instructions: Go ye now and preach the most excellent
b Two-thirds of each
year, he himself spent as a wandering preacher, and the remaining four
months during the rainy season he stayed at some fixed place, teaching
the people who flocked around him and in his little bamboo grove.
c His first five followers
who had forsake him when he broke with Brahmanism, returned to him.
Princes, merchants, artisans, Brahman hermits, serfs, semi-slaves, and
women were added to those who believed.
K He had dashed into
the darkness of the night from his father's palace as a brilliant young
prince. Now he returned to it as a wandering preacher, dressed in
dingy yellow robes, with shaven head, and a begging bowl in his hand.
a His father listened
to his son with reverence. His own son, however, and his wife who
he had left behind, were both converted to the faith. His wife became
one of the first Buddhist nuns.
b Just previous to
his death he said to his followers, Be earnest, be thoughtful, be holy,
keep steadfast watch over your own hearts. He who holds fast to the
law and discipline and faints not, shall cross the ocean of life and make
an end of sorrow . . . . Keep your minds on my teachings; all
other things change. This changes not. No more shall I speak
to you. I desire to depart. I desire the eternal rest (Nirvana).
c He is said to have
spent the night in preaching and comforting a weeping disciple. According
to one report, his last words were, Work out your own salvation with diligence.
He is said to have died calmly at the age of 80.
L After the cremation,
it is said that the ashes were divided into eight portions. Six portions
were given to six clans of the neighborhood. Stupas or cairns were
said to have been erected by the sakyas in the new Kapilavastu often through
destruction of the older towns.
BUDDHISM IN OUTLINE
1 As we have said,
the historic founder of Buddhism in India was prince Siddhartha of the
Gautama family. He was the son of a wealthy rajah of the Sakya clan,
which clan occupied the region at the foot of the Himalayas, not Nepal.
2 Prince Siddhartha
was born about B.C. 560, and died about B.C. 480. His period of search
would have been between 29 and 35, and his period of service would have
been between the ages of 35 and 80. We could date the beginning of
his work when he was about 30, or B.C. 530. In any case, his work
is dated in the sixth century B.C.
3 During his lifetime,
he was in no sense regarded as a god, or as a prophet, or even as one divinely
inspired, but merely as an enlightened one. He regarded himself merely
as a man, and thus not a savior. His followers were to find enlightenment
as he found it. He was then merely a guide to the way. Wonderful
stories, however developed later, were told about his birth.
4 Buddhism developed
in India, but it was absorbed into Brahmanism, and thus ceased to exist
as a separate religion in the land of its birth. It was later and
is now found in Japan, China, Tibet, Burma, Ceylon, Siam, and some other
1 God. Early
Buddhism had no God, and appeared to be more of an ethic than a religion.
Because of this aspect, it is sometimes denied a place among the religions.
Buddha is thus materialistic and knows no creator as such. Creation
was effected by the laws of nature, cause and effect. Destruction
and renovation are constantly going on by the forces of nature, causing
continuous changes everywhere. Buddha had no god higher than a perfect
man. He declared that he knew no one he ought to worship. His
followers have erected his images in every Buddhist temple, and millions
offer their prayer before him.
2 Man. The five
skandhas or the material and mental aggregates which constitute the individual
person. Those aggregates are bound together by karma. When
they are thus connected, they constitute Atman, or the soul. This
soul is an immaterial, invisible slippery something that is itself absorbed
into Nirvana, when all the karma is used up (Wright, p. 89).
3 Heaven. The
goal of the Buddha is nirvana. A good definition of this term is
near impossible. The Buddha himself gave no clear ideas with regard
to just what was meant by nirvana. He was asked whether Nirvana was
post-terrestrial or post-celestial. He refused to answer. Possibly
he had no answer to give. Contemplation or thinking oneself back
into nothingness, or the drop returning to the ocean and losing its identity
and consciousness therein is nirvana.
a The highest
good, then is release from the law of karma and consequently release from
incarnation. Their release is achieved by absorption into the over-soul,
or reunion with the over-soul. This involves the annihilation of
individuality; hence, nirvana is nihilism. Etymologically, the word
nirvana means to blow out or a blowing out or the absorption of the soul.
It is rather annihilation than absorption. This oversoul or nirvana
is said to have been their early god (New Shaff-Herzog Religious Encyclopedia).
b Hell or purgatory
for the Buddhist is their normal round of births and deaths. The
purpose of purgatory is therefore to get them ready to pass into the Buddha
or the state of final enlightenment or nothingness. The problem of
Christianity is What shall I do to be saved? The problem of Buddha
is What should I do to be annihilated?
4 Sin is irrational
conduct that tends to destroy more value than it creates. Real value
is the loss of Karma. Hence, sin increases rather than decreases.
(Pratt, The Pilgrimage of Buddhism, p. 20) To desire anything is
sin. One must lose himself in meditative contemplation, and thus
become absorbed into Buddha and Nirvana. The very basis of sin would
be to desire to better oneself in this life. That sort of a definition
of sin dooms one to misery.
5 Salvation depends
on knowledge; knowledge that I am nothing. Know nothing. Desire
noting. It includes the extinction of all desires attained by following
the eight-fold path. Birth is sorrow. Age is sorrow.
Sickness is sorrow. Death is sorrow. Clinging to earthly things
is sorrow. Birth and rebirth is sorrow. Passion and desire
a Escape is possible
only by right belief, right resolve, right word, right act, right life,
right effort, right thinking, right mediation. The goal is evaporization
into Nirvana, which is the highest happiness. This is salvation.
b The formula is said
to be something like this. Take refuge in the Buddha. Take
refuge in the doctrine. Take refuge in the brotherhood. This
would generate desire apparently, but one must not be too logical in evaluating
6 Ethics. The
main trend in Buddhist ethics is negative. In this general negation,
10 prohibitions are enjoined upon the higher grade of monastics.
They are: (1) do not kill, (2) do not steal, (3) do not commit adultery,
(4) do not lie, (5) do not drink intoxicants, (6) do not eat at forbidden
times, (7) abstain from dancing, singing, music, and seeing spectacles,
(8) abstain from garlands, scents, unguents, ornaments, and fineries, (9)
abstain from high or broad beds, (10) abstain from accepting gold or silver.
Children, unchastity, and wealth were to be forsaken.
The Buddhist scriptures consist of the tripetaka (the three baskets of
a Vinaja Pitaka (the
b Sutta Pitaka (the
c Abidhamma Pitaka
(the higher doctrine or the metaphysical basket. The language of
this Pitaka is Peli, the dialect of the common people in north central
India. Among those the Buddha lived and taught. There is also,
however, a large body of non-canonical Buddhist literature written in the
related Sanskrit language.
8 Special features
a Primitive Buddhism
worked out its system of salvation apart from divine help or interference.
Hence it is called an atheistic religion.
b Its extreme pessimism,
degraded life, and the worth of life.
c The human body and
human activity and the individual as such are all worthless.
d Its tendency toward
monasticism degraded human society and organization.
e Karma and rebirth
and the ultimate absorption into the all or into the indefinite impersonal
Nirvana. This is the only real thing.
f Buddhist believes
in the fundamental justice of the world order and in a moral universe inflicting
its own punishment for broken law. This to them checked crime.
g There was also a
sisterhood established for women, and a brotherhood for men without regard
for race or caste.
9 Further notes on
a Five hindrances:
desire, malice, doubt, torpor, and wrong
b Four intoxicants:
sensuality, becoming, delusion, and ignorance
c Four attachments:
sensual pleasures, continued existence, erroneous views, illusion
d Khandas. Body,
feeling, sense perception, mental prowess, and cognition. These five
are bound together by Karma. As they are bound together, they constitute
the soul. When Karma is used up by rebirth, they are absorbed into
e The key to the whole
scheme of Buddhist salvation lies in the Four Noble Truths. These
supposed truths are:
i. Concerning suffering
ii. The origin of suffering
iii. The destruction of
iv. The way to do it: destroy.
10 Buddhism in Ceylon
a Buddhism has been
the religion of Ceylon within historic times. It is still the faith
of almost the entire south and central areas, or of about 2/3 of the entire
b Tradition claims
that the Buddha himself visited the island on three different occasions.
The real introduction of Buddhism into Ceylon, however, dates from the
third century B.C., when Mahinda, son of the Indian King Asoka, came from
India and established the faith under the patronage of King Tissa, who
was a contemporary of Asoka.
c Mahinda's own sister,
the princess Sanghanitta, brought with her a branch of the original Bo-tree,
from which the famous tree at Anuradhapurais descended.
d Under Parkakrama
Baku I, who was the greatest Buddhist of Ceylon, Buddhism reached its peak
in 1200 A.D. In spite of all contending faiths, Buddhism is still
paramount, and particularly free from sects. Its style of Buddhism
is southern Hinayana (narrow interpretation) type.
e To get a proper
perspective of Ceylon's religious history, we should take a census of its
religious adherents before the present upheaval of peoples. We shall
take the census of 1911. Buddhist: 2,474,393; Hindu, 939,301; Christian,
410,525, Mohammedanism, 284,428.
f The history of Buddhism
as the national religion of Ceylon is found in the Pali Chronicles of Ceylon,
The Mahavansa and the Dipauanish.
11 Buddhism in Tibet
a Tibetan history
begins with the coming of Buddhism into the country in the 7th century
A.D. It came in through two wives of an able chieftain. One
wife was from Nepal, and the other wife was from China. Both Nepal
and China had become Buddhist countries previously.
b The prevailing state
religion later became and is now a corrupt form of Buddhism called Lamaism.
There are several sects, but the most powerful is Gelugpa. It really
constitutes a state church, for the masses, both of lamas and others, religion
is reduced to a system of magic in which worship's only purpose is to conjure
evil spirits. Members of this sect wear yellow caps, distinguishing
them from the unreformed Nyingnepas, who wear red caps and are the next
most powerful sect.
c The lamas are numerous
and live in great lamaseries. The largest lamasery is seven miles
west of Lhasa, and is known as the Dunan lamasery. It is a city in
itself, and accommodates 7500 lamas. Here too the great state oracle
is operated by supposed inspired lamas. Its influence is even greater
than the ancient Grecian Delphic Oracles.
d The Sera lamasery
at Lhasa has 5500 lamas and the Gandan lamasery has about 2000. Those
15,000 lamas practically control the country. At times even the Dalai
Lama and Amban Lama are found to give way to them. Education and
all else are chiefly in the hands of the lamas.
a Lamaism is Buddhism
corrupted by Sivaism and by a mixture of Shamanism and sorcery which goes
back in part to Bon, or primitive Tibetan religion.
b Buddhism was not
known in Tibet until the seventh century A.D, when King Sron Tsan Gam Po
((638-641) married two princesses; one from India and the other from west
China, both of whom were devoted Buddhists. Through their influence,
the ruler was converted.
c A later king, Thi
Ston Detson, invited a Buddhist monk named Padma-Sombhava, to come to Tibet
from northern India, and became the real founder and organizer and patron
saint of Lamaism in the west of Tibet.
d He at once gave
battle to the sorcerers and exorcists, fighting them with their own weapons,
and aided by the king, established the Order of Red Lama Priests. The later
emphasis of his pupils or magic brought his into disrepute to the more
intelligent lamas, the yellow-cap monks.
e The character of
this Tibetan faith is largely a priestly mixture of Sivaite mysticism,
of magic, and of Indo-Tibetan demonology overlaid with a thin varnish of
Mahayana Buddhism. To the present time Lamaism retains this character.
f Now Lamaism extends
beyond the borders of Tibet to China, Siberia, Russia, and along the borders
of India. It is estimated by some that its followers include some
i. They worship gods, spirits,
and saints, and write prayers and sacred texts, intone hymns, and worship
takes place three times daily. They also have three great religious
festivals per year, and then a lantern festival, and the chase of the scapegoat
of bad luck.
ii. Their two principle
sacraments are baptism and confirmation. They also have two lama
popes. There are three orders of the clergy, and then a lower order.
Their scriptures are in three voluminous collections. Hinayana is
the name of the southern school of Buddhism and closely and narrowly adheres
to the teaching of Buddha (it is the narrow vehicle). Mahayana is
broader (the great vehicle), and holds to more. In fact, it accommodates
itself to its environment.
13 Buddhism in Burma
a The Burmese are
the practical Buddhists of the world. Their Buddhism is the Hinayana
(narrow) type, closely approximating the original form taught by Buddha
himself. Buddhism has been their teacher and their civilizer, stimulating
their folklore and literature.
b It has prevented
castes and has covered the settled parts of the country with temples, shrines,
and monasteries. Theoretically, every boy at school in the whole
country is a monk. He is, however, not bound by vows to remain a
c The most famed temple
in the country is in Pagan and was founded in 100 A.D, and flourished to
about 1000 A.D. Its ruins now cover about 8 square miles. This
ancient temple and all others consisted almost entirely of corridors, one
within the other, and vaulted tent roofs of masonry springing from the
outer or lower wall to the inner or higher.
d Spirit or nature
worship prevails among the non-Buddhist tribes.
14 Buddhism in Siam
a The Siamese are
among the most religious of the Eastern peoples. Their religion is
the original Hinayana or orthodox. Pali is their sacred language.
Their Buddhism is referred to as Sinhalese Buddhism.
b Buddhism seems to
have been introduced into Cambodia and then into Siam about 422 AD.
For many years the whole Buddhist theology of Siam was based on the Traiphom
(three places). This is not an original Pali work, but rather a compilation
in Siamese of works and commentaries of the Buddhist Pali canon, composed
at the request of King Tak (1767-1780).
c The fervor of the
Siamese is shown in the number of the monks and the esteem in which they
are held. The pagoda in Siam is a place of prayer.
d The establishment
of Christian missions (Roman Catholic) in Siam introduced Western culture,
which was received at court with enthusiasm, particularly the astronomy
and mathematics as taught by the Jesuits. Other foreign faiths are
received with tolerance.
15 Buddhism in China
a Buddhism was introduced
into China in the Han dynasty by the emperor Ming-Ti as a result, it is
said, of a dream. It is not known for sure whether it entered in
Hinayana or Mahayana form. It is, however, evident that at a very
early date the Mahayana form prevailed with its paradise, its goddess of
mercy, its scriptures, and its voluminous writings. No fewer than
2213 works are mentioned in the oldest catalog (518 A.D.). Again,
276 of those are yet in existence. In 972 A.D., the so-called holy
books were printed collectively for the first time. Since then, several
Tri Pitaka editions have been made in China, Korea, and Japan.
b. Buddhism in China has
a voluminous and imposing ritual, a passionate rhetoric, and various stimulating
influences to satisfy a mental craving not provided for in the material
of Confucianism. Monastic life represents the highest stage of devotion
and piety to which man in China without Christ has been able to raise himself.
c. The Buddhist codes in
China do not merely preach abstinence from crime and sin, but they endeavor
also to enforce the active cultivation of virtue.
d. The essential doctrines
of Chinese Buddhism are the vanity of all material things, the supreme
importance of charity, and the certainty of rewards and punishments by
means of the transmigration of souls. The Five Precepts forbid: the
taking of life, stealing, lust, improper speech, and the use of wine.
16. Buddhism in Japan
a. Japan has three major
religions: Shinto, Buddhism, and Christianity. Under the constitution
of 1889, absolute freedom of speech and freedom of religious opinions were
granted. We are here interested in Buddhism only.
b. Buddhism entered Japan
via Korea in 552 A.D. along with the arts and sciences and letters of China.
Its gilded images and gorgeous temples and rituals appealed to the Japanese.
Hence it became popular.
c. It gained imperial favor
in 621 A.D. and was made the state or established religion. Priests
were sent to China by the government to study. They returned
with the new faith and the new scriptures. New sects soon began to
arise in Japan.
d. Kobo Daishai, in 816
A.D., founded the Shingon, or the sect with the form of true words.
In 1202 A.D., the Zen or contemplative sect was introduced. Then
in 1211 A.D., the Judo or Pure Land sect was founded. In 1262, the
Shinshu or True Sect was founded. In 1282, the Nichekon sect was founded.
There are possibly 70 sects or sub-sects, all based on or developed from
e. The most important of
the sects is the Jodo, which finds nirvana too hard to attain to, and provides
instead a paradise in the west presided over by Amita. There the
faithful may enjoy a happy existence through the unwinding circles.
f. The Shinshu, a branch
of the Jodo, has been called the Protestants of Japan. It teaches
that salvation may be obtained by faith in the mercy of Amita without works
of any kind.
g. No change in heart is
required. Nothing is required but loving each other and keeping orderly
and observing the laws of the government. The officiating priests
of the Shinshu may get married, eat fish, or flesh of any kind.
h. In 1899, its temples
numbered 19,213. Buddhism was disendowed in 1874, and disestablished
some time later. Its tenants were Mahayana. There is now no
17. Buddhism in Seattle
a. Buddhism came to Seattle
with the influx of Japanese. It now has a very fine temple and is
the only Buddhist temple owned outright by the Japanese. In 1932
there were over 4,000 Japanese Buddhists in Seattle.
b. In a small area within
the shrine, there is a bronze statue about 7 inches high, brought recently
from India, and said to be over 2,300 years old. This statue has
its right hand raised, and is believed by the local Buddhists to be a representation
of Gautama shortly after his birth. According to the legend he then
walked three paces with uplifted arms, and proclaimed his own greatness
in a voice of thunder.
c. The rosary is used.
Indeed a priest in the temple owns one, for which his great grandfather
carved the beads by hand from small peach stones. This rosary is
over 100 years old and is an exquisite piece of work.
d. Candles are burned before
the shrine, and the priests are gorgeously robed for these services.
The services take place every Sunday evening. In 1932 they were conducted
in Japanese. Generally they subscribe to the dogmas held by the Buddhists
in Japan (The Outlook, July 4, 1932, p. 375)
1. Introduction: Shinto
was founded by no one person. It is dated as having begun about B.C.
660 in Japan. Its gods are nature gods. There are three periods
in its development.
a. The first period of Shinto
terminated with the sixth century B.C. In this first period the religion
had no name, and was consequently not clearly distinguished from other
religious efforts. It had neither dogmas nor moral precepts nor sacred
writings. The objects that were worshiped were called KAMI
Some gods were good and some were bad. Some were mortal and some
were wedded to women. From one of the latter the emperor is said
to have descended. In their thinking, there were gods of pestilence,
gods of storms, and gods of heavenly bodies. In fact, everything
or anything which excited fear or dread or awe was worshiped
b. The second period terminates
at the 18th century A.D. The nature gods were then regarded as incarnations
of the Buddha. Buddhist priests also introduced many ideas and customs.
c. The third period continues
from the second period to this present time. Furthermore, a succession
of scholars appeared: Mabuchi (1697-1767), Motoori (1730-1801), and Hirata
(1776-1843). They were prompted largely from love of antiquity and
also a hatred of all things foreign. They sought to re-establish
pure Shinto. They taught that its essence was obedience to nature
and to the emperor. They produced an effect on literature and politics,
but Shinto was too shallow and too ill-defined to gain a permanent hold
on the people.
2. The founding of Shinto
a. The dominant Japanese
tribe evidently came from the western peninsula called Yamata. This
was the district of the tribe which produced the Mikado system. It
was through this tribe that Japanese history assumed its distinctive character.
b. The Yamata men advanced
and conquered, activated, as they believed, by divine command. Their
chief or Mikado, they believed, was one of the gods. Their enemies
were derived from the earth. All worship was thus concentrated upon
the Mikado, who was regarded as the earthly representative of the son of
c. Their dates were at least
660 B.C. and their land is chiefly that of Japan. Its god is called
kami, which really means pure, bright, superior.
3. The nature gods of Shinto
a. There are 80 myriads
of gods in the Nihongi and 800 myriads in the Kogoshui. There are
gods of high heaven and gods of heaven, of earth and heaven, of earth and
grain, and of the hills, and of the rivers, etc. The origin of such
deities is said to have occurred after the origin of the earth and heaven.
They are thus nature gods.
b. The two principal deities
i. The Izanagi is the male
ii. The Izanami is the female
who invites. These two became the progenitors of all subsequent deities.
They have the desires, activities, and passions of human beings.
c. Shinto was chiefly a
nature worship. The sun goddess, Kagu-Tsuchi, meaning the heavenly
shining one, is the most important object of worship among the nature deities.
Mikado worship is a direct lineal descendant from this sun goddess.
4. The literature of Shinto
a. Kojiki (words of ancient
matters) was compiled in 712 A.D. Nihongi (Chronicles of Japan) was
issued in 720 B.C. The author if Kojiki presents himself as a court
noble of the fifth rank, who was commanded by the emperor to gather up
and arrange the genealogies of the emperors and also the words of former
i. The authority and authenticity
of those documents were rejected by Prof. Hume of the Imperial University
at Tokyo. He was deprived of his professorship in 1893 as a result
of his activity.
ii. We are also told by
Hume and that the translator of Kojiki translated obscene passages into
Latin instead of English. Such cases can be put into Latin much milder
than into English.
iii. Engi-shiki was compiled
during the first quarter of the 10th century. It is a collection
of about 50 so-called books
iv. Many-Oshu (myriad poems)
v. Norito, a description
of the active side of religion
5. Ethics and emperor worship
a. Shinto had no definite
code of ethics. They, however, hold the following precepts (their
ethics are strictly materialistic):
i. The truth shall be told
ii. Gluttony should be avoided
iii. Covetous desires should
iv. Evil, wrath, and envy
should be avoided
v. Cruelty and unequal marriages
are to be avoided
vi. One should kneel on
entering the palace gate
vii. Knightly behavior is
to be encouraged.
b. Emperor worship.
There were 3132 officially recognized shrines in 1000 A.D. In 1880
the shrines numbered 183,047. In 1920 they decreased to 111,181.
During the same period, government shrines increased.
i. There is one supreme
god, but because of his exalted position, he does not receive human worship
directly, but through his minor deities. The Mikado traces his ancestry
to the goddess of the sun.
ii. The supreme god is called
the central and supreme god of the heaven. Two gods, Izanami (female)
and Izanagi (male), are the Adam and Eve of Shinto and have been the source
of created things. They have many other gods and a sun goddess.
Heroes are also deified.
iii. They call their places
of worship shrines, and priests may marry. Indeed, they may leave
the priesthood if they so wish. The Mikado was a direct lineal descendent
with the sun goddess. The people obeyed him as one possessing divine
right. Hence, the thought of prophecy or written revelation was not
iv. Shinto is thus a system
of ancestor worship with no ethical system and no sin, as the Japanese
were descended from the gods. There was no hell, and heaven is a
place where heroes are, and heroes are worshiped.
6. Creation and Man
a. Before the gods existed,
all things were developed by a huge egg. In this egg was the germ
of life. The egg grew and burst. The lighter substances floated
up and made heaven. The heavier substances floated down and made
earth. Japan was the first part created, and is the land of the gods.
Shinto apparently means the way of the gods.
b. All Japanese have come
from the sun goddess. The emperor is the direct and favored descendant,
and is worthy of worship. Man's soul cannot be defiled, but the human
flesh can. As a result, flesh will bear the punishment. Hell
for them is now, and there is no transmigration. The flesh alone
takes the rap when such is necessary.
c. In spite of it all, there
is little to show that they believed in a conscious existence. The
question could have been an open one. Wives might have been sacrificed
at the Mikado's grave. But such a custom was no proof that they believed
in a conscious beyond.
a. Political contributions
b. Supplied the need for
a religion in early days
c. Purity with regard to
e. Lack of idols in comparison
with other religions
f. Loyalty to government
and the head of the government
g. Loyalty to superiors
h. Reverence for beauty
8. Features and weaknesses
a. No personal founder
b. Literature is unduly
c. Emperor worship
d. Paramount regent of the
whole cosmos is feminine in gender
e. A blinding patriotic
f. Nature gods
g. About 16 million adherents
a. Judaism today probably
consists of an orthodox group, a reformed group, and a thoroughly modernistic
group. We are not now too much interested in these groups. Rather,
we are more interested in orthodox Judaism, with the Old Testament as its
b. The Jews from Judea were
called Jews while they were in Babylonian captivity, and their religion
is called Judaism, or the religion of the Jews. The word Judaism
first occurs in 2 Maccabees 2:21, and also in 8:1, about B.C. 100.
Ezekiel did add to it, and interpreted it, but he is not the father of
Judaism at all, as say a few modernists.
c. Judaism is the oldest
of 9 personally founded religions, and may well be the oldest of all now
living religions. We would date the story of Moses at the base of
Sinai at about B.C. 1450. Thus, when Abraham was living at Ur, and
later roaming around in Canaan, and when the children of Israel were groaning
under Egyptian bondage, the Aryans or Bactrians were entering India and
driving back the Dravidians, organizing their castes, and setting up their
d. Abraham was in an idolatrous
environment while at Ur of the Chaldees. He left Ur and idolatrous
friends behind and moved northwest to Haran. He then moves southeast
to Canaan proper, where he sacrificed to and worshiped the one True God,
Elohim. This word is both singular and plural in structure.
Abraham worshiped, walked and talked to, and obeyed and loved this God
as a person. Moses carried this Elohim back to the Elohim in the
e. Moses received a further
revelation from this same God at the burning bush. There this God
revealed Himself as Yahweh, or Jahwe, and He revealed Himself as a Person
of power. He commissioned Moses to lead the Israelites from Egypt
to the Mount of God. Jehovah through Moses split a sea, defeated
armies, gave light at night and shade by day, and brought them to Mt. Sinai.
There Jehovah clothed the mount in darkness and wrapped it in flame, and
rocked the mount greatly. He first spoke in audible tones the Ten
Commandments. He than wrote them on stone and gave the Law for the
most part and the pattern for the tabernacle. It is little wonder
that the Jews have difficulty in transferring their allegiance from Sinai
to Calvary. Deity broke through at Sinai as it has scarcely broken
through in human affairs since, and certainly never before.
f. Judaism is the earliest
one of the three religions that teach that there exists one Supreme Being
who is Creator of all and upholder of all and to whom every rational creature
in existence owes allegiance. This concept has passed into Christianity,
and in a sense into Mohammedanism. Christianity, however, for the
conservative, in no sense is to be regarded as a different religion.
Judaism prepared the ground for Christianity, or Christianity completes
Judaism. This is Paul's great argument as he stood before Agrippa
as stated in Acts 26:6-7, 22. Paul there declares that he is the
true orthodox Jew, and those who oppose him are heretics; they have defected
from the heart of Judaism.
2. Historical division of
Judaism. Here we make no distinction between the religion of Israel
and Judaism. The one was merely a development from the others and
Israel or the Jews remained Semitic in origin.
a. The Israelites were ground
into a nation by suffering while they were in Egypt. Had Israel had
no Egypt experience she would probably have been split into 12 nations.
As it was, she was welded into one by suffering. The time in Egypt
is somewhat uncertain.
b. Israel then passed into
the wilderness for 40 years. She left Egypt by acts of divine power,
and received at Sinai a code of laws which dealt with religion, society,
morals, hygiene, domestic matters, and also political matters. It
is one of the greatest documents of all history. We call it the Pentateuch,
or the Five Books of Moses.
c. Israel then crossed Jordan
under Joshua, and took possession of their promised land. They were
guided and ruled first by warrior judges, as expressed in the Book of Judges,
from Joshua to Samuel. This would again be a period of uncertain
d. We then have the monarchy
introduced by Samuel in the persons of Saul, David, and Solomon.
This is called the period of the united Kingdom.
e. We then have the divided
kingdom, the united kingdom split in two as a result of Solomon's son,
Rehoboam's folly. The Northern ten tribes was known as Israel, and
continued down to the Assyrian captivity in 722 BC. The Southern
22 tribes was known as Judah, and continued down to the Babylonian Captivity.
f. Judah was then 70 years
in Babylonian captivity. Cyrus' edict of 536 BC covered the captives
of both east and west, and a remnant of both north and south returned to
the south, thenceforth known as Judah.
g. From B.C. 606 to 70 A.D.,
we have them in Judah under various kinds of overlords. At their
rejection of their Messiah, they said We have no king but Caesar, and His
blood be on us and on our children. Both have been and are true.
Today they are under guilt and condemnation for guilt in rejecting the
3. Basic beliefs.
Judaism rests on 2 basic doctrines, which may be divided into several:
(1) Monotheism or one God. The belief in one and only one God; and
(2) Israel was chosen by this God to be the bearer of this belief to all
a. This God is both transcendent
and immanent. He is transcendent in that he is unbounded by any form
or manifestation. Spiritually he is thus omnipotent. Thou,
God, seest me (Exod. 16:13). He is immanent in that his activity
extends to the physical as well as the spiritual. Acts of and in
nature are referred to as deeds of God by many Old Testament writers.
Thus, whether in harmony with nature or out of harmony, events were acts
b. This God is the Ground
of all existence or being in the natural field or out of the material field.
He is the Creator of everything except his own being. He Himself
is uncreated. He thus brought everything into existence, and upholds
everything in existence.
c. As a transcendent and
immanent being, God is a rational and free personality, possessed of ethical
or moral attributes. No attribute can be violated in the exercise
of another attribute. God is absolutely holy and absolutely righteous,
and can neither do an unholy or unrighteous thing. Furthermore, being
free himself, and having created free rational creatures, he must permit
action which he does not approve of. His holiness and righteousness
demands that he judge those actions. The idea of a judgment arises,
and a general final judgment becomes a necessity as a result of his righteousness.
This idea of absolute righteousness in God was a tremendous step forward
in Hebrew thinking from the old pagan idea of capricious and evil gods.
d. The Hebrew religion had
a vital concern for individual and moral betterment. Hebrew monotheism
not only affirms the ethical character of God, but also makes conformity
to the divine pattern the supreme task of man (Lev. 19:2). This idea
presupposes some things:
i. Man was created holy
and righteous in the spiritual image of his Creator, but unconfirmed in
his moral direction. His loyalty to his Creator had to be tested
to confirm his direction. Man fell in that test and became exceedingly
sinful in practice and in heart (Gen. 1:27, 6:5).
ii. God's own moral nature
and moral government forbid him to arbitrarily forgive. Someone must
take the punishment and then forgiveness can be extended to the repentant
sinners. This is the crux for God clothing Himself in human flesh;
and in that nature paying the price of sin so that he can forgive the repentant.
This is the reason for the promise of the Messiah in the first place (Gen.
3:15), and for the setting up of the sacrificial system to illustrate and
make understandable the death of the Messiah to come (Luke 24:44-47).
iii. The two-fold nature
of sin is thus taken care of by a two-fold system of redemption.
First the person is forgiven for his acts of wrong, and second, the evil
nature is removed from his heart. We refer to the sacrificial system
of Moses and to such scriptures as Ps. 24: 3,4; Ps. 51:1-7; Ps. 73:1; Deut.
30:6; Ezek. 36:25-27; Isa. 6:5-7; Exod. 19:1ff; Lev. 27:34; Heb. 1:1- 13:25.
e. Redemption by this means
is universally extended to all who will. This was true in Egypt with
regard to the paschal lamb and the sacrifices in the desert and later in
Canaan. The sojourner could partake of the sacrificial benefits.
Isaiah called the Gentiles. Jesus commanded his disciples to go into
all the world (Mark. 16:15). Paul implemented that command to the
full. (Acts 13:1).
f. In the light of the history
of Israel, history itself becomes a unit with an axis. That axis
is the redemptive death of the Christ. History becomes His story,
with a beginning and an end, and a purpose. The purpose is, then,
the bringing of many sons to glory in the moral image of the Son.
4. The sacred scriptures
a. Here we have references
not to the Talmud, etc. but to the sacred scriptures alone. Those
scriptures were in a collection of 24 documents. We divide the 24
into the 39. Judaism in Jesus' day placed them into three books.
i. The Law or the Torah
or the Pentateuch: The five books of Moses for the most part. This
was probably their greatest sections, and also their first literary effort
ii. The Prophets.
The 17 books attributed to the Prophets, better known as the Major and
iii. The Psalms. The
Poetic and Wisdom literature. This area is sometimes known as the
writings and take in more than the poetic and wisdom literature.
iv. The Sacred scriptures
were written in Hebrew, with the exception of half of the book of Daniel,
certain official documents in Ezra, and a single verse in Jeremiah.
What is not in Hebrew is in Aramaic. There are, however, lone words
from five different languages in Daniel.
1. It must be remembered
that the Hebrew scriptures are inspired. Yet, in spite of that fact,
there are areas and sometimes whole books which rank with the literature
of all times: Deuteronomy, Job, parts of Isaiah, and certain psalms (1,
2. The Old Testament was
written over a period of about 1000 years; that is, from Moses to Malachi.
They were written by men from almost every level of life and training.
Each generally wrote on his own level.
3. There are a great many
different types of literature in the Bible. Some of those types are:
prose, history, biography, short story, essay, letters, orations, prayers,
parables, visions, and straight poetry, devotional, drama, laments and
dirges, nature lyrics, epic poetry, didactic prose, didactic poetry, elegy,
prophetic literature, ritualistic, patriotic. Some of those types
are broken down into sub-types like satire and irony.
v. Great characters
1. Israel was never a large
nation, and never had great universities as we know them. She did,
however, have an excellent system of education, led by the Levites in particular.
They were strong on language, fine arts, and letters. She had far
more than her share of great men who have lived in history.
2. Those men were in many
fields of endeavor. Some of them were Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Aaron,
Samuel, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel. She had great
architects, agriculturists, and soldiers: Joshua, Saul, David, Joab.
She also had great statesmen: Joseph, Moses, David, Solomon. She
excelled in many other fields. Remember that Paul and the apostles
and other early Christians were Jews.
vi. Messianic Hope
1. The first Messianic Hope
was for a Savior to come and redeem man from sin. This was the child
born and a declaration given, and the substitutionary offering to which
the sacrificial offerings and system pointed.
2. The second aspect of
the Messianic Hope was the glorious appearing of the God in the Person
of the Christ to gather Israel and the rightful ruler of the world.
The Jews ignore prophecy of the first and look for the second only.
1. Elements of strength
a. One Righteous and Holy
b. This God is the Moral
Governor of the universe
c. All sin is against this
d. There is a relationship
between God and man
e. There is an ethical relationship
between God and man.
f. Satisfaction in obeying
the laws of God
g. A highly ethical and
h. A lofty destiny held
out to the people of God
i. Its interest in its adherents
j. High standards for domestic
k. Steadfastness in affliction
l. Hope for a better future
2. Elements of weakness.
Most of its weaknesses spring from its 4000-years-ago ethnic and social
setting, and from human interpretation and failures in persons of great
a. Its exclusiveness
b. Its emphasis on God's
preference for Israel
c. Its emphasis on past
customs or laws
d. Its tendency to regard
sin as a ceremonial something.
e. Legalism and formalism
f. No effort to convert
viii. In the Americas, there
are 5,783,000 Jews. In Eurasia; 4,763,000 Jews. In Africa and
Oceania; 767,000 Jews. A total 11,313,000 on synagogue rolls.
There are probably more Jews in New York than in Palestine.