Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/17

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INTRODUCTION


Buddha and Christ, it may be said, represent the two highest planes which the religious consciousness of mankind has hitherto reached. Each in his way represents the Ideal of a whole Continent. The aim of Asia has always been To Be, the aim of Europe, To Do. The contemplative Sage is the highest ideal of Asia. Europe pins its faith to the beneficent Saint. Both Ideals, to a modern and decadent world, have lost some of their attractiveness. For Sage we are inclined to read Prig and Bore, and it is considered an appropriate fate for the good young man that he should die early. There is a sense of pose in the attitude of any one who nowadays would set up as Saint or Sage, which irritates us moderns, who do nothing if we do not pose. Besides, the trail of profes-