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THE RELIGIONS OF JAPAN
FROM THE DAWN OF HISTORY TO THE ERA OF MEIJI
WILLIAM ELLIOT GRIFFIS, D.D.
FORMERLY OF THE IMPERIAL UNIVERSITY OF TOKIO; AUTHOR OF "THE MIKADO'S EMPIRE" AND "COREA, THE HERMIT NATION;" LATE LECTURER ON THE MORSE FOUNDATION IN UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY IN NEW YORK
"I came not to destroy, but to fulfil."--THE SON OF MAN
CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
COPYRIGHT, 1895, BY CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
TROW DIRECTORY PRINTING AND BOOKBINDING COMPANY NEW YORK
IN GLAD RECOGNITION OF THEIR SERVICES TO THE WORLD AND IN GRATEFUL ACKNOWLEDGMENT OF MY OWN GREAT DEBT TO BOTH I DEDICATE THIS BOOK SO UNWORTHY OF ITS GREAT SUBJECT TO THOSE TWO NOBLE BANDS OF SEEKERS AFTER TRUTH THE FACULTY OF UNION THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY OF WHOM CHARLES A. BRIGGS AND GEORGE L. PRENTISS ARE THE HONORED SURVIVORS AND TO THAT TRIO OF ENGLISH STUDENTS ERNEST M. SATOW, WILLIAM G. ASTON AND BASIL H. CHAMBERLAIN WHO LAID THE FOUNDATIONS OF CRITICAL SCHOLARSHIP IN JAPAN
"IN UNCONSCIOUS BROTHERHOOD, BINDING THE SELF-SAME SHEAF"
This book makes no pretence of furnishing a mirror of contemporary Japanese religion. Since 1868, Japan has been breaking the chains of her intellectual bondage to China and India, and the end is not yet. My purpose has been, not to take a snap-shot photograph, but to paint a picture of the past. Seen in a lightning-flash, even a tempest-shaken tree appears motionless. A study of the same organism from acorn to seed-bearing oak, reveals not a phase but a life. It is something like this--"_to_ the era of Meiji" (A.D. 1868-1894+) which I have essayed. Hence I am perfectly willing to accept, in advance, the verdict of smart inventors who are all ready to patent a brand-new religion for Japan, that my presentation is "antiquated."
The subject has always been fascinating, despite its inherent difficulties and the author's personal limitations. When in 1807, the polite lads from Satsuma and Ki[=o]to came to New Brunswick, N.J., they found at least one eager questioner, a sophomore, who, while valuing books, enjoyed at first hand contemporaneous human testimony.
When in 1869, to Rutgers College, came an application through Rev. Dr. Guido F. Verbeck, of T[=o]ki[=o], from Fukui for a young man to organize schools upon the American principle in the province of Echizen (ultra-Buddhistic, yet already so liberally leavened by the ethical teachings of Yokoi Heishiro), the Faculty made choice of the author. Accepting the honor and privilege of being one of the "beginners of a better time," I caught sight of peerless Fuji and set foot on Japanese soil December 29, 1870. Amid a cannonade of new sensations and fresh surprises, my first walk was taken in company with the American missionary (once a marine in Perry's squadron, who later invented the jin-riki-sha), to see a hill-temple and to study the wayside shrines around Yokohama. Seven weeks' stay in the city of Yedo--then rising out of the debris of feudalism to become the Imperial capital, T[=o]ki[=o], enabled me to see some things now so utterly vanished, that by some persons their previous existence is questioned. One of the most interesting characters I met personally was Fukuzawa, the reformer, and now "the intellectual father of half of the young men of ... Japan." On the day of the battle of Uyeno, July 11, 1868, this far-seeing patriot and inquiring spirit deliberately decided to keep out of the strife, and with four companions of like mind, began the study of Wayland's Moral Science. Thus were laid the foundations of his great school, now a university.
Journeying through the interior, I saw many interesting phenomena of popular religions which are no longer visible. At Fukui in Echizen, one of the strongholds of Buddhism, I lived nearly a year, engaged in educational work, having many opportunities of learning both the scholastic and the popular forms of Shint[=o] and of Buddhism. I was surrounded by monasteries, temples, shrines, and a landscape richly embroidered with myth and legend. During my four years' residence and travel in the Empire, I perceived that in all things the people of Japan were _too_ religious.
In seeking light upon the meaning of what I saw before me and in penetrating to the reasons behind the phenomena, I fear I often made myself troublesome to both priests and lay folk. While at work in T[=o]ki[=o], though under obligation to teach only physical science, I voluntarily gave instruction in ethics to classes in the University. I richly enjoyed this work, which, by questioning and discussion, gave me much insight into the minds of young men whose homes were in every province of the Empire. In my own house I felt free to teach to all comers the religion of Jesus, his revelation of the fatherhood of God and the ethics based on his life and words. While, therefore, in studying the subject, I have great indebtedness to acknowledge to foreigners, I feel that first of all I must thank the natives who taught me so much both by precept and practice. Among the influences that have helped to shape my own creed and inspire my own life, have been the beautiful lives and noble characters of Japanese officers, students and common people who were around and before me. Though freely confessing obligation to books, writings, and artistic and scholastic influences, I hasten first to thank the people of Japan, whether servants, superior officers, neighbors or friends. He who seeks to learn what religion is from books only, will learn but half.
Gladly thanking those, who, directly or indirectly, have helped me with light from the written or printed page, I must first of all gratefully express my especial obligations to those native scholars who have read to me, read for me, or read with me their native literature.
The first foreign students of Japanese religions were the Dutch, and the German physicians who lived with them, at Deshima. Kaempfer makes frequent references, with test and picture, in his Beschryving van Japan. Von Siebold, who was an indefatigable collector rather than a critical student, in Vol. V. of his invaluable _Archiv_ (Pantheon von Nippon), devoted over forty pages to the religions of Japan. Dr. J.J. Hoffman translated into Dutch, with notes and explanations, the Butsu-z[=o]-dzu-i, which, besides its 163 figures of Buddhist holy men, gives a bibliography of the works mentioned by the native author. In visiting the Japanese museum on the Rapenburg, Leyden, one of the oldest, best and most intelligently arranged in Europe, I have been interested with the great work done by the Dutchmen, during two centuries, in leavening the old lump for that transformation which in our day as New Japan, surprises the world. It requires the shock of battle to awaken the western nations to that appreciation of the racial and other differences between the Japanese and Chinese, which the student has already learned.
The first praises, however, are to be awarded to the English scholars, Messrs. Satow, Aston, Chamberlain, and others, whose profound researches in Japanese history, language and literature have cleared the path for others to tread in. I have tried to acknowledge my debt to them in both text and appendix.
To several American missionaries, who despite their trying labors have had the time and the taste to study critically the religions of Japan, I owe thanks and appreciation. With rare acuteness and learning, Rev. Dr. George Wm. Knox has opened on its philosophical, and Rev. Dr. J.H. DeForest on its practical side, the subject of Japanese Confucianism. By his lexicographical work, Dr. J.C. Hepburn has made debtors to him both the native and the alien. To our knowledge of Buddhism in Japan, Dr. J.C. Berry and Rev. J.L. Atkinson have made noteworthy contributions. I have been content to quote as authorities and illustrations, the names of those who have thus wrought on the soil, rather than of those, who, even though world-famous, have been but slightly familiar with the ethnic and the imported faith of Japan. The profound misunderstandings of Buddhism, which some very eminent men of Europe have shown in their writings, form one of the literary curiosities of the world.
In setting forth these Morse lectures, I have purposely robbed my pages of all appearance of erudition, by using as few uncouth words as possible, by breaking up the matter into paragraphs of moderate length, by liberally introducing subject-headings in italics, and by relegating all notes to the appendix. Since writing the lectures, and even while reading the final proofs, I have ransacked my library to find as many references, notes, illustrations and authorities as possible, for the benefit of the general student. I have purposely avoided recondite and inaccessible books and have named those easily obtainable from American or European publishers, or from Messrs. Kelly & Walsh, of Yokohama, Japan. In using oriental words I have followed, in the main, the spelling of the Century Dictionary. The Japanese names are expressed according to that uniform system of transliteration used by Hepburn, Satow and other standard writers, wherein consonants have the same general value as in English (except that initial g is always hard), while the vowels are pronounced as in Italian. Double vowels must be pronounced double, as in Meiji (m[=a]-[=e]-j[=e]); those which are long are marked, as in [=o] or [=u]; i before o or u is short. Most of the important Japanese, as well as Sanskrit and Chinese, terms used, are duly expressed and defined in the Century Dictionary.
I wish also to thank especially my friends, Riu Watanabe, Ph.D., of Cornell University, and William Nelson Noble, Esq., of Ithaca. The former kindly assisted me with criticisms and suggestions, while to the latter, who has taken time to read all the proofs, I am grateful for considerable improvement in the English form of the sentences.
In closing, I trust that whatever charges may be brought against me by competent critics, lack of sympathy will not be one. I write in sight of beautiful Lake Cayuga, on the fertile and sloping shores of which in old
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