THE first Buddhist temple in or around Nara in Japan was built by Koreans, at the invitation of the Japanese rulers in the sixth century of the Christian era.
One of the most remarkable sights I have seen in Japan is a temple at Horiyuji, near Nara, to the Great Physician (Yakushi they call him). It is filled with innumerable votive offerings, to show that the sick were healed by prayers to him. The zeal of modern Christian scientists is far more than eclipsed by this wonderful record of fifteen centuries there.
By bringing the highest ideals of the East and the West together for comparison, it is hoped that special attention should be called to this rather than to the failings and low practices of either East or West.
The Scripture which describes this Great Physician has one very striking passage on his twelve Vows or Purpose in coming to the world. These twelve Vows I translate below--
1. 1 come from Heaven with the highest wisdom to shine on infinite innumerable worlds accompanied by thirty-two great angels, different forms of Kwanyin, and glorious legions, it will be for the purpose of delivering all beings, to be godlike like myself.
2. I come with my body within and without pure as crystal, without a flaw, with great light and profound virtue living in peace with a glory surpassing that of sun and moon, it will be to enlighten all who are living in darkness.
3. I come again with wisdom bringing infinite knowledge and goodness so that no living creature may suffer from any want but have all they need.
4. I come in order that those who are in evil ways may find peace in the way of wisdom, and in order that those who only know the old Buddhism, may know the new Buddhism.
5. I come in order that the multitudes who study religion may discover the perfect way, and if they have erred on hearing my name may be delivered from hell, and also attain to holiness.
6. I come so that all beings who are cripples, ugly and foolish, blind, deaf and dumb, hunchback, leprous and mad, and all sorts of suffering, on hearing my name may be healed of all their diseases.
7. I come so that the incurables, the homeless, those without doctors or medicine, without friends or relatives, the poor and the sorrowful, on hearing my name shall be delivered from all their troubles and live in peace of mind and body, have their families flourish in abundance and attain the highest wisdom.
8. I come so that women driven by all sorts of trials to hate their lives, and no longer desire to be women, on hearing my name may be changed to men, and attain the highest wisdom.
9. I come so that those who are in the bonds of evil spirits, or of heresies fallen into all sorts of evil, on hearing my name may be led to right knowledge, and gradually practise goodness and attain to the highest wisdom.
10. I come so that those who have fallen to the clutches of the law, are bound and beaten and imprisoned, or are about
to be executed or have endless calamities, insults, sorrows burning both body and soul, on hearing my name may secure my grace and power, and be delivered from all their sorrows.
11. I come so that those driven by hunger and thirst to do wrong, on hearing my name shall be fed and satisfied with wisdom and find perfect rest.
12. I come so that all the poor and naked, and those suffering from heat and cold, and divers flies and secret creepers night and day, on hearing my name may turn to practise religion, according to their bent, will receive the garments of highest wisdom, glorious treasures and best music, and be fully satisfied with all.