Page:Barlaam and Josaphat. English lives of Buddha.djvu/59

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

implicitly upon it for even an approximate restoration of the Indian original. Yet sufficient remains of this for us to be enabled to come to a tolerably definite conclusion as to the early history of the Barlaam legend before it took its Greek form. That history may be shortly summarised as follows.

During the declining years of Buddhism in India, in the early centuries of our era, attempts were made by the Brahmins to adopt that side of the Buddhistic methods which had proved most attractive, namely, the method of teaching by parables. A number of the most striking of these were adopted by the Brahmins and placed in a beast-tale framework, and formed the Indian original of the Fables of Bidpai. In opposition to this, the Buddhists retold the legend of the Buddha in a form least adapted to arouse Brahmanistic opposition, but equally enriched with the most striking of Buddhistic parables. It recounted the attaining the Buddhahood by a Bodhisattva, or one destined to be a Buddha, owing to the teachings of a Bhagavan, or one who has already attained the Supreme State. This latter book received some such title as Bhagavan Bodhisattvascha,