no lack of variety in our Sütra. We may, indeed, be satisfied that the compilers of it intended to give an exposition of the principal truths of their religion in general, and of the peculiar tenets of their own system1 in particular, the whole vvith anxious care arranged in such a form that the Sütra admitted of an exoterical and esoterical interpretation. It contains a revelati°n of the state of things in the present, as well as in the past and the future, a revelation derived from a virtually eternal source, so that the doctrine taught in it must be deemed valid not only for a certain spiritual brotherhood or church, but for the human race at large. The highest authority to whom the doctrine is referred, is not a certain individual having lived a short span of time somewhere in India, but the sublime being who has his constant abode on the Grdhraküta, i.e. he who in the terminology of other Indian creeds is called Kütastha.
As a general rule it may be said that in such works of ancient Indian literature as are anonymous, we must distinguish between the authority and the author. In the Lotus we meet after the invocation in some MSS. with the follovving distich:
Vaipulyasütrarajam paramarthanayavataranirdegam Saddharmapundankam sattvaya mahapatham vaksye. I.e. «I shall proclaim the king of the Vaipulya-sütras, that teacheth how one arrivés at the (right) method of attaining the highest truth; the Saddharma-pundarïka, the great road (leading) to substantiality (being in abstracto)». The person here speaking is not the Buddha, who is neither the author nor the writer of the work. Have we then to ascribe the distich to one of the ancient copyists? Burnouf2 decidedly thinks so, and his opini°n is corroborated by the fact that the verses do not occur in all MSS. I must confess that I am not so sure of it. As the Sütra, like other compositions of the kind, begins with the solemn «Thus have I heard, &c.», it is at least possible that the distich belongs to the compiler. I am not aware that the scribes were in the habit of using such expressions as va c or synonymous terms instead of likh, to write; and as we find in the Mahavastu similar futures as vaksye, viz. udïrayisyam and upavarnayisyami 3, where they can hardly be imputed to the scribe, it is safer to leave the question, whether the opening distich of the Lotus is the work of a compiler or of a copyist, undecided, the more so because the parallel phrase athato vyakhyasyamah, frequently found immediately after the in-
1 I. e. of the Mahayana, which aocording to Taranatha, Geschichte des Buddhismus p. 274, stands above the division of the Bauddhas into various schools.
1 Lotus, p. 285.
3 Mahavastu (ed. Senart, 1882), p. 1, with the remarks of the editor, and p. 9.