The Soul of a People

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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER IV THE WAY TO THE GREAT PEACE ' Come to Me : I teach a doctrine which leads to deliverance from all the miseries of life.'—Saying of the Buddha. To understand the teaching of Buddhism, it must be remembered that to the Buddhist, as to the Brahmin, man's soul is eternal. In other faiths and other philosophies this is not so. There the soul is immortal ; it cannot die, but each man's soul appeared newly on his birth. Its beginning is very recent. To the Buddhist the beginning as well as the end is out of our ken. Where we came from we cannot know, but certainly the soul that appears in each newborn babe is not a new thing. It has come from everlasting, and the present life is merely a scene in the endless drama of existence. A man's identity, the sum of good and of evil tendencies, which is his soul, never dies, but endures for ever. Each body is but a case wherein the soul is enshrined for the time. And the state of that soul, whether good predominate in it or evil, is purely dependent on that soul's thoughts and actions in time past. Men are not born by chance wise or foolish, righteous or wicked, strong or feeble. A man's condition in life is the absolute result of an eternal law that as a man sows so shall he reap ; that as he reaps so has he sown. Therefore, if you find a man's desires naturally given towards evil, it is because he has in his past lives educated himself to evil. And if he is righteous and charitable, long-suffering and full of sympathy, it is because in his past existence he has cultivated these virtues ; he has followed goodness, and it has become a habit of his soul. Thus is every man his own maker. He has no one to blame for his imperfections but himself, no one to thank for his virtues but himself. Within the unchangeable ...
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