others by pious devotion, others by contemplation, others by confessing a strictly monistic philosophy 1, others by acknowledging a personal god. 2 The Lord in the Saddharma-pundarïka admits of being viewed in all these various aspects. Whether the Buddha-theory, such as we find it developed in the Sütra, not in plain words, indeed, but by circumlocutions and ambiguities, should be called atheistic or not, is a matter of comparatively slight importance, about which opinions may dififer. This much, however, may be asserted, that the Lotus and the Bhagavad-gïta are, in this respect, exactly on a par.
The conclusion arrived at is that the Qakyamuni of the Lotus is an ideal, a personification, and not a person. Traits borrowed, or rather surviving, from an older cosmological mythology, and traces of ancient nature-worship abound both in the Lotus and the Bhagavad-gïta, but in the highest sense of the word, paramarth atas, the Purusottama in both is the centre of mental life. It is just possible that the ancient doctors of the Mahayana have believed that such an ideal once walked in the fiesh here on earth, but the impression left by the spirit and the letter of thewhole work does not favour that supposition. In later times fervent adherents of the Mahayana really held that belief, as we know from the example of the pious Hiuen Thsang, who was evidently as earnest in his belief that the Lord once trod the soil of India as he was convinced ofManjugri, Maitreya, and Avalokitegvara existing as animated beings. Whether the system of the Lotus can be said to agreewith what is supposed to be «genuine» Buddhism, it is not here the place to discuss. So far as the Northern Church is concerned, the book must be acknowledged as the very cream of orthodoxy; it is the last, the supreme, thejnost sublime of the Sütras exposed by the Lord; it is, so to say, the giromani, the crown jewel, of all Sütras.3
The contents of the separate chapters into which the Sütra is divided may be described, summarily, as follows;
2. Awakening of the Lord from his mystic trance; display of his transcendent skilfulness, proved by the apparent trinity of vehicles, whereas in reality there is but one vehicle.
3. Prophecy of the Lord regarding the future destiny of Qariputra, his eldest son. Second turn of the wheel of the law on that occasion, with incidental commemoration of the first turn near Benares. Parable of the burn-
1 The followers of the Upanisads, Aupanisadas, who say «Myself am God»; or as Nïlakaïjtha puts it: «Myself am the Lord Vasudeva».
- According to Nïlakantha the common people, who think: «He, the Lord, is my Master».
5 Chap. xiii, st. 53 seq.