vocation, in non-Buddhistic writings, must be held to refer to the author or authors, compilers.
The Lotus being one of the Standard works of the Mahayana, the study of it cannot but be useful for the right appreciation of that remarkable system. A perusal of the book will convince the reader that a statement of Professor Vassiljev's 1 can only be accepted with some restrictions, when this scholar, so profoundly versed in the history and development of Northern Buddhism, says that the Buddha of the Mahayana is «neither the creator nor the ruler of the world; he remains the same cold, indifferent egoist, absorbed in Nothingness». The Tathagata of the Lotus is passionless, indeed, but that does not involve his being an egoist. In general it may be said that the spirit of the Mahayana is more universal, its ideal less monastical than the Hïnayana's. According to Professor Rhys Davids we must not seek the superior vital power which enabled the Great Vehicle to outlive the earlier teaching in certain metaphysical subtleties, but in the idea of a desire to save all living creatures; «the idea», to quote his own words2, «as summarised in the theory of Bodhisatship, is the key-note of the later school, just as Arahatship is the key-note of early Buddhism». The Mahayana doctors said in effect: «We grant you all you say about the bliss of attaining Nirvana in this life. 3 But it produces advantage only to yourselves; and according to your own theory there will be a necessity for Buddhas in the future as much as there has been for Buddhas in the past. Greater, better, nobler then, than the attainment of Arahatship must be the attainment of Bodhisatship from a desire to save all living creatures in the ages that will come».The teaching of the Lotus, however, is different, and comes to this, that every one should try to become a Buddha. It admits that from a practical point of view one may distinguish three means, so-called Vehicles, yanas, to attain the summum bonum, Nirvana, although in a higher sense there is only one Vehicle. These means are, in plain language, piety, philosophy or rather Yogism, and striving for the enlightenment and weal of our fellow-creatures; these means are designated by the terms of Vehicle of (obedient) hearers or disciples, of Pratyekabuddhas, and of Bodhisattvas. Higher than piety is true and self-acquired knowledge of the eternal laws; higher than knowledge is devoting oneself to the
1 Ia his Buddliismus, p. 126.
2 In Lectures 011 the Origin and Growth of Religion (1881), p. 254.
5 It may be observed that there is nothing peculiarly Buddhistio in the searehingfor Nirvana in this life, except in the sound of the word. It is exactly the same as what other Indian enthusiasts or mystics called Jïvanmukti, the aim of Yogins in the fourth degree (answering to the Arhats of the Buddhists) and of the Brahmans or Dvijas in the fourth A<;rama.