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The Life or Legend of Gaudama The Buddha of the Burmese (Volume I)   By: (1813-1894)

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First Page:

TRÜBNER'S ORIENTAL SERIES.

THE LIFE OR LEGEND OF

GAUDAMA THE BUDDHA OF THE BURMES

With Annotations.

THE WAYS TO NEIBBAN, AND NOTICE ON THE PHONGYIES OR BURMESE MONKS.

BY THE RIGHT REVEREND P. BIGANDET, BISHOP OF RAMATHA, VICAR APOSTOLIC OF AVA AND PEGU

IN TWO VOLUMES.

VOL. I.

Fourth Edition.

LONDON: KEGAN PAUL, TRENCH, TRÜBNER & CO. LTD. DRYDEN HOUSE, GERRARD STREET, W. 1911.

The rights of translation and of reproduction are reserved.

Printed by BALLANTYNE, HANSON & CO. At the Ballantyne Press, Edinburgh

ADVERTISEMENT TO THIRD EDITION.

The origin of the present work dates back to the years 1852, 1853, 1854, and 1855, when portions of it appeared in the "Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia," edited by J. R. Logan of Penang (vols. vi., vii., viii., and ix.). The first complete edition was printed at Rangoon in Burmah in 1858, and a second, much enlarged, at the same place in 1866.

Very few copies of either of these editions reached Europe, and both are entirely out of print. The present third edition a faithful reprint of the second issued, with Bishop Bigandet's sanction, for the benefit of European and American scholars and readers, will, therefore, it is hoped, be gladly received.

Buddhism and Gautama, the faith and its founder, whose followers are between four and five hundred millions of the human race, were comparatively unknown in Europe but a generation ago, and yet this great faith had continued for four and twenty centuries to spread over the vast lands of the East, taking deep and enduring root in all, from Bhotan, Nepaul, and Ceylon, over Further India to China Proper, Mongolia, Mantchooria, Tibet, and Japan.

Buddhism, as it is found in Burmah, has a particular claim to the attention of a diligent and attentive observer. We there have that religious creed or system as pure from adulteration as it can be after a lapse of so many centuries. Philosophy never flourished in Burmah, and, therefore, never modified the religious systems of the country. Hinduism never exercised any influence on the banks of the Irrawaddy. Chinese and Burmese have often met on battlefields, but the influence of the Middle Kingdom has never established itself in Burmah. In other words, Chinese Buddhism has never been able to penetrate into the customs and manners of the people, and has not attempted to communicate its own religion to its southern neighbours. It would seem that the true form of Buddhism is to be found in Burmah, and that a knowledge of that system can only be arrived at by the study of the religious books of Burmah, and by attentively observing the religious practices and ceremonies of the people. This is what Bishop Bigandet has endeavoured to do throughout his work.

Mr. Alabaster, the author of a very popular work on Siamese Buddhism, testifies to the great value of the Bishop's work, which, he remarks, is in one sense complete, for whereas the Siamese manuscript concludes with the attainment of omniscience, the Bishop had materials which enabled him to continue the story to the death of Nirwana (Neibban in the Burmese Pali form). He might have added that the work modestly entitled "Life of Gaudama" is a complete exposition of the great system of Eastern Asia. The metaphysical part, which is the very essence of the system, has received a due consideration, and the body of religious has been fully described... Continue reading book >>




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