The key of the whole scheme of Buddhist sal vation lies in what Gautama called his four sublime verities. The first asserts that pain exists; the second, that the cause of pain is desire or attachment—the meaning of which will appear further on; the third, that pain can be ended by suppressing desire; and the fourth shows the way that leads to this. This way consists in eight. things: Right faith, right judgment, right language, right purpose, right practice, right effort, right thinking, and right meditation. In order to understand how this method is to lead to the proposed end, we must turn to the meta physical part of the system contained in the 'coneatenation of causes,' or 'chain of causation,' which may be looked upon as a development of the second 'verity'—namely; that the cause of pain is desire—or rather, as the analysis upon which that verity is founded. The 'immediate cause of pain is birth, for if we were not born we should not lie exposed to death or any of the ills of life. Birth, again, is caused by previous existence; it is only a transition from one state of existence into ;mother. All the actions and affeeti MN of a being throughout his migrations leave their impressions, stains, attachments ad hering to him, and the accumulation of these determines at each stage the peculiar modifiea tion of existence he must next assume. This is the only soul that Buddha recognizes. These ad hesions or attachments, good and had, depend upon desire. We tints arrive at desire—includ ing both the desire to possess and the desire to avoid—as one link in the chain of causes of continued existence and pain. Beyond this the dependence of the links is very difficult to trace; for desire is said to be caused by perception, perception by contact, and so on, until we come to ideas. Ideas, however, are mere illusions. the results of ignorance or error, attributing durability and reality to that which is transi tory and imaginary. Cut off this ignorane, bring the mind into a state in which it can see and feel the illusory- nature of things, and forth with the whole train ‘anishes; illusory ideas, distinction of forms, senses, contact, perception, desire, attachment, existence, birth, misery, old age, death! Morality and Religious Obserranecs.—The eight parts or particulars constituting the theo retical 'way' (to Nirvana), were developed by Cantama into a set of practical precepts enjoin ing the various duties of common life and of religion. They are all ostensibly intended as
means of counteracting or destroying the chain of causes that tie men to existence and necessi tate being born again, especially that most im portant link in the chain constituted by the at ta•hments or desires resulting from former actions; although the special fitness of some of the precepts for that end is far from being apparent. In delivering his precepts. the Buddha considers men as divided into two classes—those who have embraced the religious life (.S'rama vas). and those who continue in the world, or are laymen. These last are considered as too much attached to existence to feel any desire or have any hope of emancipation—at least at this stage. But there are certain precepts which it is necessary for all to obey that they may not bring greater misery upon themselves in their next births, and rivet the bonds of existence more indissolubly. There are ten moral pre cepts or 'precepts of aversion.' Five of these arc of universal obligation—viz., not to kill ; not to steal; nut to commit adultery: not to lie; not to be drunken. Other five are for those entering on the direct pursuit of Nirvana by embracing the religious life : to abstain from food out of season—that is, after midday; to abstain from dances, theatrical representations, songs. and music: to abstain from personal ornaments and perfumes; to abstain from a lofty and luxurious couch: to abstain from taking gold and silver. For the regular ascetics, or monks, there are a number of special observances of a severe kind. They are to dress only in rags, sewed together with their own hands, and to have a yellow cloak thrown over their rags. They arc to eat only the simplest food, and to possess nothing except what they get by collecting alms from door to door in their wooden bowls. They are allowed only one meal, and that must be eaten before midday. For a part of the year they are to live in forests, with no other shelter except the shadow of a tree, and there they must sit on their carpet even during sleep, to lie down being forbidden. They are allowed to enter the nearest village or town to beg food, but they must return to their forests before night.