was Buddha, otherwise called Gautama or Sakya Muni, who was born in Nipal about 557 B.C. He does not seem to have believed in a God at all, though he admitted the existence of those whom the Hindus call devas. But he taught that even the devas needed to become his followers, just as men had to do, if they wished to escape from the misery and suffering which constituted all existence, whether on earth or in the many heavens and the still more numerous hells which are mentioned in the religious books of the Buddhists. Man's aim in life should be, according to Buddha, to attain to Nirvana (extinction).

But the form of Buddhism introduced into China and called Mahayana or the 'Great Vehicle' is very different from this. It teaches that beneath all particular phenomena there exists an ultimate reality, which is called Dharmakaya. This is the essence-body of all things. The universe is a manifestation of the Dharmakaya. In it all sentient beings, including the Buddha himself, are one. The Dharmakaya is not absolutely impersonal but is capable of willing and thinking. Yet it is not the Creator of the world, for it is working in all sentient beings, and the latter are part of its self-manifestations. 1 This form of Buddhism theoretically denies the existence of the human individual Ego 2, or personality, yet in China this latter fact is

1 Suzuki, Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism, pp. 21, 96-7, 290.
2 Op. Cit., p. 38.

overlooked or forgotten. The doctrine of the transmigration of souls is accepted, and it is believed that animals have souls which may rise in dignity and be born once more in human bodies. In some of the Buddhist monasteries in China animals are kept and kindly treated, and certain ceremonies are performed over them to enable them to become human beings when they die. Asceticism is to some degree encouraged with the object of acquiring merit. Hence there are in some places large monasteries each under its abbot. At one time some Buddhists in China used to burn themselves alive upon pyres in honour of Buddha, but now in place of this they put a piece of burning charcoal upon their shaven heads when undergoing the ceremony of initiation.

They worship a large number of deities, one of the chief of whom is Buddha himself. The three other principal deities are Amitabha, also called the Buddha of the West, the goddess Kwan-yin, and Maitreya, a Buddha who is still to come. But they adore innumerable Buddhas and devas, offering them incense, food and flowers. Pictures and images of the objects of worship abound in their temples, and thus the Buddhists in China openly worship idols.

They have a large number of commandments to obey, and they hold that, by obedience to these, a man may, even in this life, rise to the dignity of becoming a Buddha. The most important of these