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   ACCORDING to the census of 1891 Japan has about forty millions of inhabitants, of whom more than thirty millions are Buddhists. Of these Buddhists the Shin-shiu sect claims about ten millions of followers, with 19,208 temples, and 11,958 preachers, with ten chief priests, and 3,593 students. The books on which the members of this sect chiefly found their faith are the two Sukhâvatî-vyûhas, the large and the small, and the Amitâyur-dhyâna-sûtra. They are sometimes called the Large Sûtra, the Small Sûtra, and the Sûtra of Meditation[1].

   According to the Buddhists of Japan, Buddha preached the Amitâyur-dhyâna-sûtra to queen Vaidehî in the city of Râgagriha. This was during the fifth period of his life; i.e. when he was between the age of seventy-one and seventy-nine.

   The outline given of this Sûtra is as follows: 'Vaidehî, consort of king Bimbâsara of Magadha, seeing the wicked actions of her son Agâtasatru, began to feel weary of this world Sahâ (here as elsewhere explained as the patient, much-enduring earth). Sâkyamuni then taught her how to be born in the Pure Land Sukhâvatî, instructing her in the method of being born in that world, enumerating three kinds of good actions. The first is worldly goodness, which includes good actions in general, such as filial piety, respect

[1. See Sukhâvatî-vyûha, in Anecdota Oxoniensia, p. ix.]

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for elders, loyalty, faithfulness, &c.. The second is the goodness of Sila or morality, in which there are differences between the priesthood and the laity. In short, however, all who do not oppose the general rule of reproving wickedness and exhorting to the practice of virtue are included in this goodness. The third is the goodness of practice, which includes that of the four Satyas or truths, and the six Pâramitâs or perfections. Besides these, all other pure and good actions, such as the reading and recital of the Mahâyâna-sûtras, persuading others to hear the Law, and thirteen kinds of goodness to be practised by fixed thought, are comprised in this. Towards the end of the Sûtra, Buddha says: "Let not one's voice cease, but ten times complete the thought, and repeat the words Namo*mitâbhâya Buddhâya, or adoration to Amitâbha Buddha. This practice is the most excellent of all."

   'At seventy-eight years of age Buddha is said[1] to have composed the Samanta-bhadra-bodhisattva-karyâ-dharma-sûtra, in the city of Vaisâlî. At the age of seventy-nine he is supposed to have ascended to the Trayastrimsa heaven in order to preach to his mother, and after descending on earth again, he only published two more Sûtras, the Nirvâna-sûtra and the Sukhâvatî-vyûha. Very soon after he died.'

   The same three books, that is, the two Sukhâvatî-vyûhas and the Amitâyur-dhyâna-sûtra, form also the chief authority of the Gôdoshiu sect, the sect of the Pure Land.. The followers of this sect state[2] that in the year 252 A. D. Sanghavarman, an Indian student of the Tripitaka, came to China and translated the great Amitâyuh-sûtra, i.e. the Larger Sukhâvatî-vyûha, in two volumes. This is the first and largest of their sacred books.

   In the year 400 A, D. another teacher, Kumâragîva, came from India to China, and produced a translation of the

[1. These are the statements of the Buddhists in Japan as recorded by Bunyiu Nanjio in 'Short History of the Twelve Japanese Buddhist Sects,' Tokyo, 1886, p. xviii.

2. Loc, cit. p. 104.]

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small Amitâyuh-sûtra, or Smaller Sukhâvatî-vyûha, in one volume. This is the smallest of the three sacred books.

   In 424 A. D. Kâlayasas arrived in China from India, and translated the Amitâyur-dhyâna-sûtra in one volume.

   Chinese translations of these texts were known to exist not only in China, but also in Japan, and there were in several cases more than one translation of the same text. But it was not known, nor even suspected, that the Sanskrit originals of some of them had been preserved in the temples and monasteries of that distant island.

   In the year 1880 I read a paper before the Royal Asiatic Society in London, 'On Sanskrit Texts discovered in Japan' (Selected Essays, vol. ii, pp. 213-271), and in it and in the preface to my edition of the Sanskrit texts of the Sukhâvatî-vyûha in the Anecdota Oxoniensia, 1883, I explained how I discovered the existence and came into the possession of Sanskrit MSS. and copies of Sanskrit MSS. from the Buddhist monasteries in Japan.

   I had long suspected the existence of old Sanskrit MSS. in China, and had asked my friends there to search for them, and as it was well known from the works of Siebold and others that there were short invocations in Sanskrit of Buddha hung up in the Buddhist temples of Japan or written on their walls, I entertained a hope that in Japan also some real and ancient MSS. might still be discovered. The alphabet in which these short invocations are written was known by the name of Shidda, the Sanskrit Siddha[1]. It may be seen in Siebold's works and in an article published in 1880 in the Annales du Musée Guimet, vol. i, PP. 322-336, by MM. Ymaizoumi and Yamata. What was not known, however, was that there had been a period in

[1. Siddham, lit. what is successfully achieved, seems to have been used by Buddhists like siddhih, success, as an auspicious invocation at the beginning of literary works. Thus we see that the alphabet on the Hôriuzhi palm-leaves begins with siddham, and tbis siddham may afterwards have become the name of the alphabet itself. In Siddhânta, meaning dogma, grammar, siddha conveys the sense of settled; in Siddhârtha, a name of Buddha, it means fulfilled, i.e. he whose desires have all been fulfilled, the perfect man. free from desires and passions.]

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the history of Japan when Sanskrit was studied systematically by native priests, nay, that some of the MSS. which had travelled from India to China, and from China to Japan were still in existence there. Of these MSS. I gave an account in 1884 in the Anecdota Oxoniensia, 'The Ancient Palm-Leaves.' Though hitherto no new discoveries of Sanskrit MSS. have been made, it is most desirable that the search for them should not be given up in China, in Japan, and in Corea also. But even thus a new and important chapter has been added to the history of Buddhism, and the fact been established once for all that Buddhist literature found a home in Japan, and was studied there for many generations not only in Chinese translations, but in the original Sanskrit also. Let us hope that through the efforts of my pupils, such as Bunyiu Nanjio, Kenjiu Kasawara (died 1883), and others, a new school of Sanskrit students has been planted in Japan which will enable the followers of Buddha there to derive their knowledge of his doctrine from the original and undefiled source of the ancient Tripitaka.

   I thought it best for the sake of completeness, and in compliance with the wishes of my friends in Japan, to give in this volume the translation both of the Larger and the Smaller Sukhâvatî-vyûha. They differ from each other on several smaller points. The Larger Sukhâvatî-vyûha is represented as having been preached on the Gridhrakâta hill near Râgagriha, the Smaller Sukhâvatî-vyûha in the Geta-grove near Srâvastî. In the former the chief interlocutors are the Bhagavat, i.e. the Buddha Sâkyamuni, Ânanda, and Agita; in the latter the Bhagavat and Sâriputra. There is one point, however, which is of great importance in the eyes of the followers of the Shin-shiu sect, on which the two treatises differ.

   The Smaller Sukhâvatî-vyûha lays great stress on the fact that people can be saved or can be born in the Land of Bliss, if only they remember and repeat the name of Buddha Amitâbha two, three, four, five, six or more nights before their death, and it distinctly denies that people are born in the Paradise of Amitâbha as a reward or necessary result of good works performed in the present life. This

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would seem to take away one of the fundamental doctrines of Buddhism, namely the doctrine of karman, or of the continuous working of our deeds whether good or bad. Instead of the old doctrine, As a man soweth, so he shall reap, a new and easier way of salvation is here preached, viz. As a man prayeth, so he shall be saved. It is what is known to us as salvation by faith rather than by works. The Larger Sukhâvatî-vyûha lays likewise great stress on prayer and faith in Amitâbha, but it never neglects 'the stock of merit' as essential for salvation. It would almost seem as if this popular and easy doctrine had secured to itself the name of Mahâyâna, as meaning the Broad Way, in opposition to the Narrow Way, the Hînayâna.

   The historical relation between the Hînayâna and the Mahâyâna schools of Buddhism is to me as great a puzzle as ever. But that the teaching of Sâkyamuni as represented in the Hînayâna comes first in time seems to be shown by the Mahâyâna-sûtras themselves. Even in our Sukhâvatî-vyûha the teacher, the Bhagavat, is Sâkyamuni, whom we know as the son of the Lord of Kapilavastu, the husband of Yasodharâ, the father of Râhula. We begin with a dialogue between this Buddha and his famous disciple Ânanda. Ânanda observes that Buddha is in a state of spiritual exaltation and asks him what he is seeing or thinking. Thereupon Buddha relates how there was a line of eighty-one Tathâgatas or Buddhas beginning with Dîpankara and ending with Lokesvararâga. During the period of this Tathâgata Lokesvararâga, a Bhikshu or Buddhist mendicant of the name of Dharmâkara formed the intention of becoming a Buddha. He therefore went to the Tathâgata Lokesvararâga, praised him in several verses, and then asked him to become his teacher and to describe to him what a Buddha and a Buddha country ought to be. After having received instruction, Dharmâkara comprehended all the best qualities of all the Buddha countries, and prayed that they should all be concentrated in his own country when he himself had become a Buddha. After long meditations Dharmakara returns to Buddha Lokesvararâga and tells him in a long prayer what he

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wishes and wills his own Buddha country to be. This prayer forms really the nucleus of the Sukhâvatî-vyûha; it is in fact, under the form of a prayer, a kind of prophecy of what, according to Dharmâkara's ideas, Sukhâvatî or the Land of Bliss ought to be. Dharmâkara then became a Bodhisattva, a candidate for Buddhahood, and lastly a real Buddha (§ 9). All this is related by Buddha Sâkyamuni to Ânanda, as a kind of vision of what happened ten kalpas ago (§ 14, s. f.). When Ânanda asks Sâkyamuni what has become of this Bodhisattva Dharmâkara, Buddha answers that this original mendicant is now reigning in Sukhâvatî as the Buddha Amitâbha. He then proceeds to describe Sukhâvatî where Amitâbha dwells, and his description of Amitâbha's country is very much the fulfilment of all that Dharmâkara has prayed for. Once (§ 17) Ânanda is reproved by Buddha for not implicitly believing all he says about the marvels of Sukhâvatî, but afterwards the praises of Sukhâvatî and of its inhabitants are continued till nearly the end. In some verses recited by Buddha Sâkyamuni, Amitâbha himself, when questioned by the Buddha-son Avalokitesvara, explains that Sukhâvatî is what it is in fulfilment of his prayers, when he was as yet living on earth (§§ 31, 13; 17). At last Ânanda expresses a wish to see Amitâbha, whereupon that Buddha sends a ray of light from the palm of his hand so that the whole world was inundated by its light, and not only Ânanda, but every living being could see Amitâbha and his retinue of Bodhisattvas in the Land of Bliss, while they in Sukhâvatî could see Sâkyamuni and the whole world Sahâ, Then begins the conversation between Sâkyamuni and Agita (instead of Ânanda). Buddha explains to him how some of the blessed spirits in Sukhâvatî sit cross-legged in lotus-flowers, while others dwell shut up in the calyx of these flowers, the former being the firm believers in Amitâbha, the latter those who have entertained some doubt, and who have therefore to wait for five hundred years inside the calyx before they become full-blown, being debarred during all that time from seeing and hearing the Buddha.

   In conclusion Buddha Sâkyamuni exhorts Agita to teach

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this treatise, the Sukhâvatî-vyûha, to all beings, and promises great rewards to all who will learn it, copy it, teach and explain it.

   I need not repeat here what I have said in the preface to my edition of the Sanskrit text of the Sukhâvatî-vyûha about the difficulties of translating a text which in many places is corrupt and imperfect. But I may point out another difficulty, namely how almost impossible it is to find in English a sufficient number of nouns and adjectives to render the superabundant diction of this Description of the Land of Bliss. An exact rendering of all the words of its gushing eloquence is out of the question. Often I should have liked to shorten some turgid sentence, but I was afraid of exposing myself once more to the frivolous charge of representing the Sacred Books of the East as more beautiful, as more free from blemishes, than they really are. No more unfounded charge could have been brought against these translations of the Sacred Books of the East. Whatever else they may be or not be, they are certainly faithful, as faithful as an English translation of an Oriental original can possibly be. That they are free from mistakes, I should not venture to say, and no Oriental scholar would expect it. Those who venture to translate Oriental texts that have never been translated before are few in number, and they have to do the work of pioneers. Those who follow in their track find it very easy, no doubt, to do over again what has been done before, and even to point out here and there what they consider and represent as mistakes; nay, they evidently imagine that because they can discover a mistake, they themselves could have done the pioneer's work as well or much better. If only they would try for once to find their way through the jungle and the brushwood of an unexplored forest they would become more just to their predecessors, and more humble in judging of their own performances. Nay, they might possibly find that often when they differ from the translation of others, they themselves may be wrong, and their precursors right.

   This at all events I may say in my own name and in the name of my fellow-workers, that the idea of representing

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the Sacred Books of the East as better, purer, and more beautiful than they are, could never enter into the head of a scholar, and has never proved even a temptation to the translators of the Sacred Books of the East.



   The translation of the Smaller Sukhâvatî-vyûha has been published by me before in my Selected Essays, vol. ii, p. 348, where a fuller account may be found of the discovery of Sanskrit MSS. in Japan, and of the way by which they travelled from India to China, and from China to Japan. I have made a few corrections in my translation, and have added some notes and omitted others.



   In order to make this collection of Mahâyâna works more complete and useful to students in Japan I have added a translation of the Vagrakkhedikâ, which is much studied in Japan, and the Sanskrit text of which was published by me in an editio princeps--in the Anecdota Oxoniensia, 1881.

   The Vagrakkhedikâ, or the Diamond-cutter, is one of the most widely read and most highly valued metaphysical treatises in Buddhist literature. In Japan the Vagrakkhedikâ and the Praâpâramitâ-hridaya are read chiefly by the followers of the Shin-gon sect, founded by Kô-Bô, the great disciple of the famous Hiouen-thsang, in 816 A. D. The temples of this sect in Japan amount to 12,943. Written originally in Sanskrit, it has been translated into Chinese, Tibetan, Mongol, and Mandshu. Its full title is Vagrakkhedikâ Praâpâramitâ i.t:. the Diamond-cutter, the perfection of wisdom, or, as it has sometimes been rendered, 'the

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Transcendent Wisdom.' Mr. Bunyiu Nanjio in his Catalogue of the Tripitaka, p. 1, has shown that it forms the ninth section of the Mahâpraâ-pâramitâ-sûtra, and that it agrees with the Tibetan translation of the text in 300 slokas.

   An account of the Tibetan translation was given as far back as 1836 by Csoma Körösi in his Analysis of the Sher-chiu, the second division of the Kanjur, published in the Asiatic Researches, vol. xx, p. 393 seq. Our text is there described as the Diamond-cutter or the Sûtra of wonderful effects, in which Sâkya in a colloquial manner instructs Subhûti, one of his principal disciples, in the true meaning of the Praâ-pâramitâ The Tibetans, we are told, pay great respect to this Sûtra, and copies of it are found in consequence in great abundance[1].

   The first Chinese translation[2] is ascribed to Kumâragîva of the latter Tsin dynasty (A. D. 384-417). An English translation of this Chinese translation was published by the Rev. S. Beal in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1864-5.

   There are several more Chinese translations, one by Bodhiruki (A. D. 509), one by Paramârtha (A. D. 562), one by Hiouen-thsang (A. D. 648), one by I-tsing (A. D. 703), one by Dharmagupta of the Sui dynasty (A. D. 589-618).

   The text and German translation of the Tibetan translation were published in 1837 by M. Schmidt in the Mémoires de l'Académie de St. Pétersbourg, tom. iv, p. 186.

   The Mongolian translation was presented by the Baron Schiling de Canstadt to the Library of the Institut de France.

   The Mandshu translation is in the possession of M. de Harlez, who with the help of the Tibetan, Mandshu, and Chinese versions has published a valuable French translation of the Sanskrit text of the Vagrakkhedikâ in the Journal Asiatique, 1892.

[1. See also L. Feer in Annales du Musée Guimet, vol. ii, p. 201.

2. See preface to my edition of the Vagrakkhedikâ, Anecd. Oxon., 1881.]

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   At first sight it may seem as if this metaphysical treatise hardly deserved the world-wide reputation which it has attained. Translated literally into English it must often strike the Western reader as sheer nonsense, and hollow repetition. Nor can anything be said in defence of the form or style adopted in this treatise by the Buddhist philosophers who wished to convince their hearers of the truth of their philosophy. This philosophy, or, at least, its underlying doctrine, is not unknown to us in the history of Western philosophy. It is simply the denial of the reality of the phenomenal world. Considering how firmly a belief in phenomenal objects is established in the ordinary mind, it might well have seemed that such a belief could not be eradicated except by determined repetition. But that the theory had been fully reasoned out before it was stated in this practical, but by no means attractive form, may be gathered from the technical terminology which pervades our treatise. There are two words, in particular, which are of great importance for a right apprehension of its teaching, dharma and samgñâ. Dharma, in the ordinary Buddhist phraseology, may be correctly rendered by law. Thus the whole teaching of Buddha is called the Good Law, Saddharma. But in our treatise dharma is generally used in a different sense. It means form ({Greek eî?dos}), and likewise what is possessed of form, what is therefore different from other things, what is individual, in fact, what we mean by a thing or an object. This meaning has escaped most of the translators, both Eastern and Western, but if we were always to translate dharma by law, it seems to me that the whole drift of our treatise would become unintelligible. What our treatise wishes to teach is that all objects, differing one from the other by their dharmas, are illusive, or, as we should say, phenomenal and subjective, that they are in fact of our own making, the products of our own mind. When we say that something is large or small, sweet or bitter, these dharmas or qualities are subjective, and cannot be further defined. What is large to me, may be small to another. A mile may seem short or long, according to the state of our muscles, and no one can determine the point where

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smallness ends and length begins. This applies to all things which we are supposed to know, that is, which we are able to name. And hence the Buddhist metaphysician tells us that all things are but names, samgñâs[1], and that being names they are neither what they seem to be nor what they do not seem to be. This extreme Pyrrhonism is afterwards applied to everything. Dust is not dust, because we cannot draw a line between the smallest molecules, the smallest granules, the smallest dust, and the smallest gravel. There are no signs (no {Greek tekmh'ria} or {Greek shmeîa}) by which we can know or distinguish these objects. There are in fact no objects, independent of us; hence whoever speaks of things, of beings, of living beings, of persons, &c., uses names only, and the fact that they are names implies that the normal things are not what they seem to be. This, I believe, is the meaning of the constantly recurring phrase: What is spoken of as 'beings, beings indeed' that was preached or called by Buddha as no-beings; that is, every name and every concept is only a makeshift, if it is not altogether a failure; it is certainly not true. We may speak of a dog, but there is no such thing as a dog. It is always either a greyhound or a spaniel, this or that dog, but dog is only an abstraction, a name, a concept of our mind. The same applies to quadruped, animal, living being, and being; they are all names with nothing corresponding to them. This is what is meant by the highest perfect knowledge, in which nothing, not even the smallest thing, is known, or known to be known (par. 22). In that knowledge there is no difference, it is always the same and therefore perfect (par. 23). He who has attained this knowledge believes neither in the idea, i.e. the name of a thing, nor in the idea of a no-thing, and Buddha by using the expression, the idea, or name (samgñâ) of a thing, implies thereby that it is not the idea of a thing (par. 31). This metaphysical Agnosticism is represented as perfectly familiar even to children and ignorant persons (par. 30),

[1. Samgñâ and dharma correspond in many respects to the Vedântic nâmarûpe.]

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and if it was meant to be so, the endless repetition of the same process of reasoning may find its explanation.

   That this extreme scepticism or Pyrrhonism is really the popular view of the present followers of the Mahâyâna Buddhism, was clearly stated at the Congress of Religions, held in Chicago, in September, 1893. A Deputy sent by the leading sects in Japan, submitted to the Congress an outline of the doctrines of the Mahâyâna Buddhists drawn up by Mr. S. Kuroda. This outline had been carefully examined and approved by scholars belonging to six of the Buddhist sects in Japan, and was published with authority at Tokyo in 1893. This is what he writes of the Mahâyâna metaphysics:

   'The distinction between pure and impure is made by the mind; so are also all the changes in all things around us. All things that are produced by causes and conditions, are inevitably destined to extinction. There is nothing that has any reality; when conditions come things begin to appear, when conditions cease these things likewise cease to exist. Like the foam of the water, like the lightning flash, and like the floating, swiftly vanishing clouds they are only of momentary duration[1]. As all things have no constant nature of their own, so there is no actuality in pure and impure, rough and fine, large and small, far and near, knowable and unknowable, &c. On this account it is sometimes said that all things are nothing. The apparent phenomena around us are, however, produced by mental operations within us, and thus distinctions are established. 'These distinctions produced by mental operations are, however, caused by fallacious reasoning nurtured by the habits of making distinctions between ego and non-ego, good and bad, and by ignorance of the fact that things have no constant nature of their own and are without distinctions (when things thought of have no corresponding reality, such thinking is called fallacious. It may be compared to the action of the ignorant monkey that tries to catch the image of the moon upon water). Owing to this fallacious reasoning, a variety of phenomena constantly

[1. Cf. Vagrakkhedikâ, par. 32.]

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appear and disappear, good and bad actions are done, and the wanderings through the six ways or states of life are thus caused and maintained.

   'All things are included under subject and object. The subject is an entity in which mental operations are awakened whenever there are objects, while the object consists of all things, visible and invisible, knowable and unknowable, &c. The subject is not something that occupies some space in the body alone, nor does the object exist outside of the subject. The innumerable phenomena of subject and object, of ego and non-ego, are originated by the influence of fallacious thinking, and consequently various principles, sciences, and theories are produced.

   'To set forth the principle of "Vidyâmâtra" (all things are nothing but phenomena in mind), phenomena of mind are divided into two kinds:--"1 Gosshiki" (unknowable) and "Fumbetsujishiki" (knowable). They are also divided into eight kinds:--1. Kakshur-viâna (mental operations depending on the eye), 2. Sûtra-viâna (those depending on the ear), 3. Ghrâna-viâna (those depending on the olfactory organs), 4. Gihvâ-vignâna (those depending on the taste), 5. Kâya-viâna (those depending on the organs of touch), 6. Manoviâna (thinking operations), 7. Klishta-mano-viana (subtile and ceaseless operations), 8. Âlaya-viâna (all things come from and are contained in this operation; hence its name, meaning receptacle).

   'According to the former division, the various phenomena which appear as subjects and objects are divided into two kinds:--the perceptible and knowable, the imperceptible and unknowable. The imperceptible and unknowable phenomena are called "Gosshiki," while the perceptible and knowable phenomena are called "Fumbetsujishiki." Now what are the imperceptible and unknowable phenomena? Through the influence of habitual delusions, boundless worlds, innumerable varieties of things spring up in the mind. This boundless universe and these subtile ideas are not perceptible and knowable; only Bodhisattvas believe, understand, and become perfectly convinced of these

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through the contemplation of "Vidyâmâtra;" hence they are called imperceptible and unknowable. What are the knowable and perceptible phenomena? Not knowing that these imperceptible and unknowable phenomena are the productions of their own minds, men from their habitual delusions invest them with an existence outside of mind, as perceptible mental phenomena, as things visible, audible, &c. These phenomena are called perceptible and knowable. Though there are thus two kinds, perceptible and imperceptible phenomena, they occur upon the same things, and are inseparably bound together even in the smallest particle. Their difference in appearance is caused only by differences both in mental phenomena, and in the depth of conviction. Those who know only the perceptible things without knowing the imperceptible, are called the unenlightened by Buddha. Of the eight mental operations, the eighth, Âlaya-viâna, has reference to the imperceptible, while the first six (sic) refer to the perceptible phenomena. All these, however, are delusive mental phenomena.

   In contradistinction to the fallacious phenomena, there is the true essence of mind. Underlying the phenomena of mind, there is an unchanging principle which we call the essence of mind; the fire caused by fagots dies when the fagots are gone, but the essence of fire is never destroyed. The essence of mind is the entity without ideas and without phenomena, and is always the same. It pervades all things, and is pure and unchanging. It is not untrue or changeable, so it is also called "Bhûtatathatâ" (permanent reality).

   'The essence and the phenomena of mind are inseparable; and as the former is all-pervading and ever-existing, so the phenomena occur everywhere and continually, wherever suitable conditions accompany it. Thus the perceptible and imperceptible phenomena are manifestations of the essence of mind that, according to the number and nature of conditions, develop without restraint. All things in the universe, therefore, are mind itself. By this we do not mean that all things combine into a mental unity called mind, nor that all things are emanations from it, but that without

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changing their places or appearance, they are mind itself everywhere. Buddha saw this truth and said that the whole universe was his own. Hence it is clear that where the essence of mind is found, and the necessary conditions accompany it, the phenomena of mind never fail to appear. So the essence of mind is compared to water, and its phenomena to waves. The water is the essence, the waves are the phenomena; for water produces waves when a wind of sufficient strength blows over its surface. The waves, then, are the phenomena, the water is the essence; but both are one and the same in reality. Though there is a distinction between the essence and the phenomena of mind, yet they are nothing but one and the same substance, that is, mind. So we say that there exists nothing but mind. Though both the world of the pure and impure, and the generation of all things, are very wide and deep, yet they owe their existence to our mind. Men, however, do not know what their own minds are; they do not clearly see the true essence, and, adhering to their prejudices, they wander about between birth and death. They are like those who, possessing invaluable jewels, are, nevertheless, suffering from poverty. Heaven and hell are but waves in the great sea of the universe; Buddhas and demons are not different in their essence. Let us, therefore, abide in the true view and reach the true comprehension of the causality of all things.'


   I hope that this will justify the view I have taken of the Vagrakkhedikâ, and that my translation, though it differs considerably from former translations, will be found to be nearest to the intentions of the author of this famous metaphysical treatise.

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   As the short text and translation of these Sûtras were published in the Anecdota Oxoniensia, 1884, with Introduction and full notes, I did not at first intend to include them in this volume. But as I was told that this Sûtra is really the most widely read Buddhist text in Japan, to be seen everywhere on shrines, temples and monasteries, more admired, it may be, than understood by the Buddhist laity, I yielded to the wishes of my Buddhist friends, and have reprinted it so as to make this volume a really complete repository of all the important sacred texts on which Buddhism takes its stand in Japan. We have heard so much of late of a Buddhist propaganda for the conversion of the East and the West to the doctrines of Buddha, that it may be useful to see what the doctrines of the historical Buddha have become in the Mahâyâna-school, more particularly in the monasteries of Japan.



   As I did not succeed in getting possession of a MS. of the original Sanskrit text of this Sûtra, I had given up all hope of being able to give in this volume a translation of all the classical texts used by the two leading sects of the Buddhists in Japan. Fortunately at the last moment a young Japanese scholar who is reading Sanskrit with me at Oxford, Mr. J. Takakusu, informed me that he possessed the Chinese translation of this Sûtra, and that he felt quite competent to translate it. It so happens that the style of this Sûtra is very simple, so that there is less fear of the Chinese translator, Kâlayasas, having misunderstood the Sanskrit original. But though I feel no doubt that this

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translation from the Chinese gives us on the whole a true idea of the Sanskrit original, I was so much disappointed at the contents of the Sûtra, that I hesitated for some time whether I ought to publish it in this volume.

   What determined me at last to do so was partly the wish of my friends in Japan who expected a complete translation of their three sacred books, partly my own wish that nothing should be suppressed that might lead us to form a favourable or unfavourable, if only a correct judgment of Buddhism in its Mahâyâna dress, as professed by miilions of people in China and Japan.

   What gives to these Sûtras their highest interest in the eyes of Sanskrit scholars is their date, which can be determined with considerable certainty. Those who know how few certain dates there are in the history of Sanskrit literature will welcome these Mahâyâna Sûtras as a new sheet-anchor in the chronology of Sanskrit literature. We have as yet only three, the date of Kandragupta (Sandrokyptos) as fixed by Greek historians, and serving to determine the dates of Asoka and his inscriptions in the third, and indirectly of Buddha in the fifth century. The second was supplied by Hiouen-thsang's travels in India, 629-645 A. D., and the third by I-tsing's travels in India in the years 671-690 A. D.

   I was able to show in my lectures on 'India, what can it teach us?' delivered at Cambridge in 1882, that Hiouen-thsang, while in India, had been the pupil of Gayasena and Mitrasena, which supplied scholars with a fixed date for the literary activity of Gunaprabha, Vasubandhu, and their contemporaries and immediate predecessors and successors, Still more important was the date which I-tsing supplied for Bhartrihari and the literary period in which he moved. Bhartrihari's death, fixed by I-tsing at 650 A. D., has served as a rallying-point for a number of literary men belonging to what I called the Renaissance of Sanskrit literature.

   I pointed out at the same time that the period between the end of the Vedic literature, represented in its last efforts by the numerous Sûtra-works, and the beginning of the Renaissance in the fourth century A. D., would have to be filled to a great extent by Buddhist works. I hardly

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thought then that Mahâyâna texts like the Sukhâvatî-vyûha, which seemed to be of so secondary a character, would claim a foremost place in that period. But there can be little doubt that the first Chinese translation of it by Lokaraksha was made between the years 147-186 A. D.; the second by K' Khien between 223-253 A. D.; and the third and best by Sanghavarman, an Indian Sramana of Tibetan origin, in 252 A. D., whereas the first translation of a Sanskrit text into Chinese, that of the Sûtra in forty-two sections by Kâsyapa Mâtanga, is ascribed to the year 67 A.D. I need hardly say that there are no Sanskrit texts the date of which can be fixed with so much certainty as those of the Sanskrit originals of the Chinese translations.

   The doctrine of Amitâbha and his paradise Sukhâvatî seems to have acquired great popularity in China and afterwards in Japan. We need not wonder when we see how easy salvation was made by it, particularly according to the teaching of the Smaller Sukhâvatî-vyûha and the Amitâyur-dhyâna-sûtra.

   The Buddhists who, as I have pointed out on several occasions, are the debtors of the Brâhmans in almost all their philosophical speculations, seem to, me to have borrowed also their half-mythological conception of Sukhâvatî or the Land of Bliss from the same source. In the Vishnu and other Purânas, when the cities of the Lokapâla-gods are mentioned, in the different quarters of the sky, the city of Varuna is placed in the West, and it is called Mukhyâ, the chief, or Sukhâ, the happy, or Nimlokanî, the city of sunset. This Sukhâ is, I think, the prototype of Sukhâvatî[1]. Though it would be rash to conclude thaL therefore the Purânas, as we now possess them, because they mention the Land of Bliss or Sukhâ, must be older than our text of the Sukhâvatî, say lOO A. D., we may say that Pauranik legends must certainly have existed at that early time, and this is a matter of some importance. I have not found any Brahmanic antecedents of Avalokitesvara,

[1. See also Ânandagiri on Sankara's Commentary on the Khândogya-npanishad, 111, 10, 4, ed. Calc. p. 172.]

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but the occurrence of his name in the Sukhâvatî-vyûha shows that he was known much earlier than is commonly supposed, that is about 100 A.D.

   In Japan, where Buddhism was introduced by way of Corea in 552 A. D., we hear of the Sukhâvatî-vyûha for the first time in 640 A. D., when the emperor Jomei held a religious ser;vice at his palace to hear an exposition of the Sûtra on Sukhâvatî from the lips of Ye-yin, a Sramana invited from China. Many works were composed in Japan as well as in China on Amitâbha and his Paradise, as may be seen from the Catalogue of the Chinese Tripitaka, published by my friend and former pupil Bunyiu Nanjio in 1883 (Clarendon Press).

   I have to thank Dr. Winternitz and Mr. Takakusu for their kind help in preparing the indices and reading the proof-sheets of this volume.

F. MAX MULLER.       

          Jan. 26, 1894.

Next: The Larger Sukhâvatî-vyûha