Page:Evolution and Ethics.djvu/53

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.


Buddhists themselves as a difficulty. They avoided it, partly by explaining that it was a particular thirst in the creature dying (a craving, Tanhā, which plays otherwise a great part in the Buddhist theory) which actually caused the birth of the new individual who was to inherit the Karma of the former one. But, how this took place, how the craving desire produced this effect was acknowledged to be a mystery patent only to a Buddha." (Rhys Davids, Hibbert Lectures, p. 95.)

Among the many parallelisms of Stoicism and Buddhism, it is curious to find one for this Tanhā, 'thirst,' or 'craving desire' for life. Seneca writes (Epist. lxxvi. 18): "Si enim ullum aliud est bonum quam honestum, sequetur nos aviditas vitæ aviditas rerum vitam instruentium: quod est intolerable infinitum, vagum."


Note 8 (p. 19).

"The distinguishing characteristic of Buddhism was that it started a new line, that it looked upon the deepest questions men have to solve from an entirely different standpoint. It swept away from the field of its vision the whole of the great soul-theory which had hitherto so completely filled and dominated the minds of the superstitious and the thoughtful alike. For the first time in the history of the world, it proclaimed a salvation which each man could gain for himself and by himself, in this world, during this life, without any the least reference to God, or to gods, either great or small. Like the Upanishads, it placed the first importance on knowledge; but it was no longer a knowledge of God, it was a clear perception of the real nature, as they supposed it to be, of men and things. And it added to the necessity of knowledge, the necessity of purity, of courtesy, of uprightness, of peace and of a universal love far reaching, grown great and beyond measure." (Rhys Davids, Hibbert Lectures, p. 29.)

The contemporary Greek philosophy takes an analogous direction. According to Heracleitus, the universe was made neither by gods nor men; but, from, all eternity, has been, and to all eternity, will be, immortal fire, glowing and fading in due measure. (Mullach, Heracliti Fragmenta, 27.) And the part assigned by his successors the Stoics, to the knowledge and the