commandments is that which forbids the killing of any being that has life. Hence they live on vegetables and fruit alone, never eating fish or flesh.

They profess belief in three things: (1) in Buddha, (2) in his law, and (3) in the Buddhist community. They hold that forgiveness of sins may be obtained through repentance, confession, and the performance of certain rites, including fixed ablutions of the body. Spiritual progress is also made by entertaining good will, even towards animals, and by deep thought. Reading and reciting their scriptures is also supposed to produce merit. A book entitled Fan-wang-King (فن ونكَ كنكَ) is read aloud repeatedly for the benefit of the dead, as is also the Sutra of Amitabha, who is invoked thousands of times by name. It is believed that people may be saved from hell and souls brought to paradise by calling upon Amitabha and Kwan-yin. This idea so well agrees with the Chinese habit of honouring their deceased ancestors that much of the progress of Buddhism in China is doubtless due to it. Buddhism also attracted people by telling them of a paradise in the west, where the spirits of the sanctified dead might live in the enjoyment of much happiness. It does not oppose the superstitions of the people, but rather encourages them. Hence in China Buddhism has changed from an agnostic philosophy into a polytheistic religion full of idolatry and superstition, although it teaches a good deal of self-restraint and control of evil passions.


As we have seen, the method it prescribes for obtaining remission of sins and salvation is that of repentance, confession, ablution, belief in three articles of faith, obedience to a large number of commandments, the acquisition of merit by good thoughts and by the recitation of their sacred books for the good of both living and the dead, and offering adoration to a large number of deities and to their images. There is no atonement for sin in their system, and no knowledge of the one true God. We must now inquire whether in this way forgiveness of sin and the salvation of the soul can be obtained. For the sake of conciseness, however, we shall institute, a general inquiry on the subject, dealing briefly with all the heathen religions which we have been considering.

From what has been already said concerning these, the chief religions of the heathen, it is clear that all the methods of obtaining salvation and remission of sins upon which they mainly depend may be concisely summed up under four heads, namely: (1) The recital of certain fixed and formal prayers, together with the performance of special rites and ceremonies, ablutions of the body, the offering of animal sacrifices, the practice of fasting and pilgrimage. (2) The offering of gifts and oblations, the observation of ascetic practices and self-torture. (3) The storing up of merit by doing certain things supposed to be specially pleasing to the divinities. (4) Abstraction of mind, and