Page:Occult Japan - Lovell.djvu/254

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rance; it evolved a peculiarly mystifying doubt. For the priestly evidence was bitterly baffling. No sooner had one man convincingly told his tale than another came along with an upsettingly opposite story. The sole point in which the tellers substantially agreed lay in ascribing it pretty unanimously each to his own particular faith. The Shintoists asserted that it was Shintō; the Buddhists that it was Buddhist; while the Ryōbuists ascribed it at times to the one, but more commonly to the other. A few humble brethren modestly admitted that they did not know.

The only fact that emerged tolerably self-evident from this bundle of contradiction was that somebody had stolen the cult from somebody else, but as to which of these reputable parties was the reprehensible robber, and which his unfortunate victim, the poor investigator was left sadly at a loss to discover.

Where doctors of divinity disagreed in this alarming manner, it seemed hopeless to try to decide between them. Under such weighty counter-assertions one's own opinion swung balance-wise to settle at last to the lowest