« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
are no longer monastic seclusions, but (according to Mr. Hodgson) “resound with the hum of industry and the pleasant voices of women and children.” These convents have each a superior, and are open both for the admittance and departure of all. Women have their separate vihars and superiors. The sacerdotal professions, as well as all other avocations and pursuits, whether civil or religious, in Nepal, have become, by usage, hereditary. It will by this, as well as by other parts of Mr. Hodgson's sketch, appear that the Nepalese do now, in practice at least, acknowledge to a certain extent the distinctions of caste, although the doctrines of their religion, as Buddhas, reject them. It is, therefore, somewhat difficult to comprehend what is actually the religion of the Newars or Nepalese. Avowedly they are followers of the Buddhist faith—practically they are worshippers of the Brahminical deities: but with some variations they appear more allied to the Jaina sect than to either. According to information obtained by Mr. Hodgson the religion of the Lamas closely approximates to that of the Nepalese; except that they extend their belief considerably farther respecting the avatars of Buddha; as they imagine that their Lamas are living incarnations of that deity. I shall close this account of Buddha with a description of Captain Turner's interview with the Teeshoo Lama, or living
BUDDHA OF THIBET.
This deity is supposed never to die; or rather, as soon as he is dead, to be again regenerated in the form of an infant. It need scarcely be stated that this regeneration is an act of priestly arrangement: it is, however, conscientiously believed by the millions of worshippers of the Teeshoo Lama. In 1783, Mr. Turner, the author of the Embassy to Thibet, was sent, by the British government of India, to congratulate the infant Lama after the death of the old Lama, upon his resuscitation. The account of this interview, in which the holy young gentleman of eighteen months old behaved with becoming dignity and decorum, is both interesting and singular. Mr. Turner says he did not speak, which he ingenuously confesses saved him, the ambassador, many words in the way of rejoinders, &c. However, he contrived to make the young pontiff understand the inconsolable grief that the Governor-General and the good people in India (those inhabiting the City of Palaces” especially) were plunged into when he died; which was only surpassed by their unbounded joy and happiness when they found that he had come to life again, to exercise his holy vocation for the benefit of his numerous worshippers. This gratifying compliment, or a string of handsome pearls which the ambassador had presented to him, caused the infant Lama to regard him and his suite with looks of singular complacency; and to present them with sugar-plums (not of the kind usually given by foreign potentates to plenipotentiaries, but of real confectionary) from a golden cup which stood near him. The ambassador continued to express the Governor-General's hope that the Lama might long continue to illumine the world with his presence; and that the friendship which had, heretofore, subsisted between them, might be yet more strongly cemented, for the benefit and advantage of the intelligent votaries of the Lama, and the disinterested worthy inhabitants of Great Britain: all which made the little creature look steadfastly at the speaker, and graciously bow and nod—and bow and nod, and bow and nod again—as if he understood and approved of, says Mr. Turner, every word that was uttered. Indeed the embassy had every reason in the world to be satisfied with the extraordinary politeness and attention of the young Lama; for, on understanding that the English gentlemen had arrived, he was so impatient to see them, that he rose long before his usual hour: and although he could not, during the audience, converse with, he kept his eyes constantly fixed upon them; and “when their cups were empty of tea, he appeared uneasy, and throwing back his head, and contracting the skin of his brow, continued making a noise till they were filled again.” He was particularly struck with the movements of the hands of a small clock; but his admiration was that of a philosopher, perfectly grave and sedate, as was indeed the whole of his behaviour; but at the same time apparently natural and unconstrained. In short, the holy pontiff of Rome could not have conducted himself more appropriately than did on that occasion, with all due allowances for circumstances, the infant pontiff of Thibet. The following account of the temple of Hurry-Ho may shew the description of idols which occupy some of the temples in the dominions of the Lamas. Whatever of Hindu there may be about them, would appear to belong to the vindictive deities. “The temple of Hurry-Ho is sixty feet long, forty wide, and about thirty high. The principal object is a demon with a third eye in his forehead, and a mouth like a wild beast; round his head is a tiara of human skulls; a chaplet of men's heads, alternately black and white, reaches from his shoulders to the ground; his waist is encircled by the skin of a tiger, which is fastened about him by yellow and green serpents; a human skull inverted, filled with blood, is in his left hand, and in his right a bird with wings extended; each foot tramples on a human body. The figure is of colossal dimensions, being between eight or nine feet; he is in an upright position, together with a female demon, who has also three eyes, similar in countenance to the male, and crowned like him with a wreath of human skulls, and bearing in her hands the same blood-filled goblet. From the head of the male grows out a horse's head; from that of the female a boar's with bloody jaws. The paintings on the walls are not less horrible or disgusting: two sides of the walls are filled with quiescent figures in a sitting posture, having each a halo or glory round his head, and the hands joined in the attitude of prayer. On the other two sides are the following designs: “ No. 1. A black demon with boar's face; in the right hand a dagger, and in the left a skull; a human body, mangled and bleeding, lies prostrate under each foot. “2. A yellow figure with three eyes, a dagger in one hand and a club in the other, sitting on a tiger, mangling a human body. “3. A black demon with boar's face, gory mouth, and three eyes; in one hand a mace, in the other a skull; a human body under her foot. “4. A red demon with three eyes; chaplet of skulls; in the right