Page:The Outline of History Vol 1.djvu/439

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§ 1. The Story of Gautama. § 2. Teaching and Legend in Conflict. § 3. The Gospel of Gautama Buddha. § 4. Buddhism and Asoka.[2] § 5. Two Great Chinese Teachers. § 6. The Corruptions of Buddhism. § 7. The Present Range of Buddhism.

§ 1

IT is interesting to turn from the mental and moral activities of Athens and Alexandria, and the growth of human ideas in the Mediterranean world, to the almost entirely separate intellectual life of India. Here was a civilization which from the first seems to have grown up upon its own roots and with a character of its own. It was cut off from the civilizations to the west and to the east by vast mountain barriers and desert regions. The Aryan tribes who had come down into the peninsula soon lost touch with their kindred to the west and north, and developed upon lines of their own. This was more particularly the case with those who had passed on into the Ganges country and beyond. They found a civilization already scattered over India, the Dravidian civilization. This had arisen independently, just as the Sumerian, Cretan, and Egyptian civilizations seem to have arisen, out of that widespread development of the Neolithic culture, the heliolithic culture, whose characteristics we have already described. They revived and changed this Dravidian civilization much as the Greeks did the Ægean or the Semites the Sumerian.

These Indian Aryans were living under different conditions

  1. Rhys Davids' Buddhism and other writings by him have been our chief guide here.
  2. Pronounced Ashoka.