Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/47

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
xli
THE ORIENTAL VERSIONS.

In short, I regard the literary history of the Barlaam literature as completely parallel with that of the Fables of Bidpai. Originally Buddhistic books, both lost their specifically Buddhistic traits before they left India, and made their appeal, by their parables, more than by their doctrines. Both were translated into Pehlevi in the reign of Chosroes, and from that watershed floated off into the literatures of all the great creeds. In Christianity alone, characteristically enough, one of them, the Barlaam book, was surcharged with dogma and turned to polemical uses, with the curious result that Buddha became one of the champions of the Church. To divest the Barlaam-Buddha of this character, and see him in his original form, we must take a further journey and seek him in his home beyond the Himalayas.