Buddhism: Its History and Literature

By T. W. Rhys Davids | Go to book overview

and not Buddhism. The original Buddhism was the very contrary of esoteric. Gotama was accustomed, throughout his long career, to speak quite openly to everyone of the whole of the view of life which he had to propound. No doubt there were a certain number of questions to which it was his habit to refuse to reply. These were questions the discussion of which, in his opinion, was apt to lead the mind astray, and so far from being conducive to a growth in insight, would be a hindrance to the only thing which was supremely worth aiming at,-- the perfect life in Arahatship. The reason for his reticence was not at all that he had formulated any doctrine upon them which he wished to conceal from some people, and reveal only to other more intimate disciples. Such questions as--What shall I be during the ages of the future? Do I after all exist, or am I not? How am I? This is a being: Whence did it come? And whither will it go ?--are regarded as worse than unprofitable, and the Buddha not only refused to discuss them, but held that the tendency, the desire to discuss them was a weakness, and that the answers usually given were a delusion. There are a whole set of such questions, drawn up in identical words in several of the Dialogues, a consideration of which is called the Walking in Delusion, the Jungle, the Wilderness, the Puppet Show, the

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