chapter  IV
23 Pages

BUDDHA, THE UNIVERSAL SPIRIT

Uuddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas, 3,0001 in number, or rather countless, and also of Bodhisattvas no less than Buddhas. Nowadays, however, in every church of Mahayanism one Buddha or another together with some Bodhisattvas reigns supreme as the sole object of worship, while other supernatural beings sink in oblivion. These Enlightened Beings, regardless of their positions in the pantheon, were generally regarded as persons who in their past lives cultivated virtues, under­ went austerities, and various sorts of penance, and afe length attained to a complete Enlightenment;, by virtue of which they secured not only peace and eternal bliss, but acquired divers supernatural powers, such as clairvoyance, clairaudience, all-knowledge, and what not. Therefore, it is natural that some Mahayanists2 came to believe that, if they should go through the same course of discipline and study, they could attain to the same Enlightenment and Bliss, or the same Buddhahood, while other Mahayanists3 came to believe in the doctrine that the believer is saved

1 Trikalpa-trisahasra-buddhanama-sutra gives the names of 3,000 Buddhas, and Buddhabhasita-buddhanama-sutra enumerates Buddhas and Bodhisattvas 11,093 in number. See Nanjo’s Catalogue, Nos. 404, 405, 406, 407.