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ments of mendicant priests, are generally found in the most romantic spots of the hilly country. One of these particularly attracted the attention of both our embassies from its remarkable situation; and Lord Macartney has given a description of it which must be admitted to be somewhat beyond the reality. This temple of the goddess Kuân-yin (one of the principal idols of the Budhists) is seated in the face of a perpendicular limestone cliff, at least five hundred feet in height, and can be approached only by boats, as it rises abruptly from the side of the river about three or four days' journey above Canton. The natural fissure or cavern in the rock has been enlarged by human labour ; and the abodes of the priests and idols consist of several chambers, one above the other, which are severally approached by stairs and shelving portions of the limestone. In front of the middle story hangs an enormous mass of stalactite, at least a ton in weight, threatening destruction to all who approach the temple from below.
The resemblance which we have already noticed between the ritual of Fo in these temples, and the Roman Catholic ceremonies, had excited the attention of Mr. Gutzlaff. “That they should count their prayers by means of a rosary, and chant masses for both the living and the dead ; that they should live in a state of celibacy, shave their beads, fast, &c., might be perhaps accounted for as a mere coincidence of errors into which men are prone to fall : but their adoration of Tien-how, the Queen of Heaven' (called also Shing-moo, “the Holy Mother'), must be a tener engrafted upon Budhism from foreign traditions. We are unable to fix the exact date of the adoption of this deity. There is a legend of modern date among the people of Fokien, which tells us that she was a virgin of that province, who in a dream
saw her kindred in danger of being wrecked, and boldly rescued them ; but this affords no satisfactory solution. It is likely that some degenerate Nestorian Christians amalgamated with their faith and ceremonies the prevailing errors of China, and caused the priests of Budha to adopt many of their rites.” In one instance that missionary saw a marble bust of Napoleon, before which incense was burnt in a temple ; hence, he adds, it would not be extraordinary if they had also adopted among their other idols so conspicuous an object of worship as the Virgin is among Romanists.
In corroboration of this surmise may be adduced a very curious account of Christ, taken by Dr. Milne from the Chinese mythological history, in which Jesus is ranked among the number of the gods.* That the account was received by the Chinese from the Romish mission seems indisputably proved by the epithets applied to the Virgin, and the virtues and powers attributed to her. The work in which it appears is called “A Complete History of Gods and Genii,' and was compiled in two-and-twenty thin octavo volumes by a Chinese physician, during the reign of Kâng-hy, at a time when many priests of Rome were in China. “The extreme western nations say, that at the distance of ninety-seven thousand ly from China, a journey of about three years, commences the border of Sy-keang. In that country there was formerly a virgin named Ma-le-a. In the first year of Yuen-chy, in the dynasty Hân, a celestial god reverently announced to her, saying, “The Lord of heaven has selected thee to be his mother. Having finished his discourse, she actually conceived, and afterwards bore a son. The mother, filled with joy and reverence, wrapped him in a cloth, and placed him in a horse's manger. A flock of celestial gods (angels) sang and rejoiced in the void space. Forty days after, his mother presented him to the holy teacher, and named him Yay-soo. When twelve years of age, he followed his mother to worship in the holy palace. Returning home they lost each other. After three days' search, coming into the palace, she saw Yay-soo sitting on an honourable seat, .conversing with aged and learned doctors about the works and doctrines of the Lord of heaven. Seeing his mother, he was glad, returned with her, and served her with the utmost filial reverence. When thirty years of age, he left his mother and teacher, and, travelling to the country of Yu-teh-a, taught men to do good. The sacred miracles which he wrought were very numerous. The chief families, and those in office in that country, being proud and wicked in the extreme, envied him for the multitude of those who joined themselves to him, and planned to slay him. Among the twelve disciples of Yay-soo there was a covetous one named Yu-tah-sze. Aware of the wish of the greater part of his countrymen, and seizing on a proffered gain, he led forth a multitude at night, who, taking Yay-soo, bound him and carried him before Ana-sze in the courthouse of Pelah-to. Rudely stripping off his garments, they tied him to a stone pillar, inflicting on him upwards of 5400 stripes, until his whole body was torn and mangled ; but still he was silent, and like a lamb remonstrated not, The wicked rabble, taking a cap made of piercing thorns, pressed it forcibly down on his temples. They hung a vile red cloak on his body, and hypocritically did reverence to him as a king. They made a very large and heavy machine of wood, resembling the character ten, * which they compelled him to bear on his shoulders. The whole way it sorely pressed him down, so that he moved
* Chinese Gleaner, p. 105.
and fell alternately. His hands and feet were nailed to the wood, and, being thirsty, a sour and bitter drink was given him. When he died, the heavens were darkened, the earth shook, the rocks, striking against each other, were broken into small pieces. He was then aged thirtythree years. On the third day after his death, he again returned to life, and his body was splendid and beautiful. He appeared first to his mother, in order to remove her sorrow. Forty days after, when about to ascend to heaven, he commanded his disciples, in all a hundred and two, to. separate, and go everywhere under heaven to teach, and administer a sacred water to wash away the sins of those who should join their sect. Having finished his commands, a flock of ancient holy ones followed him up to the celestial kingdom. Ten days after, a celestial god descended to receive his mother, who also ascended up on high. Being set above the nine orders, she became the empress of heaven and earth, and the protectress of human beings.”
There appears, upon the whole, some ground for supposing that the legend of Fokien province, concerning the Queen of Heaven, may have had its origin in the Romish accounts of the Virgin Mary, since the title by which the Chinese designate their goddess is Tëen-how Neang, “ Our Lady the Queen of Heaven.” On the other hand, the Chinese at Canton, who are fond of finding parallels and resemblances of the kind, give the name of the Virgin (in conversing with Europeans) to their Budhist idol Kuân-yin; and in the same way apply the name of Kuân-yin to the Romish idols of the Virgin. To every saint who has a church at Macao they contrive to give a name, founded on some supposed analogy in their own idols. St. Anthony they call“ the fire god.” There is nothing in the Romish worship at that place, or in the character of the priests, that is calculated to give the Chinese a very exalted idea of this corruption of Christianity. In the former, they witness graven or molten images, processions, tinkling of bells, candles and incense, exact'y resembling their own religious rites; in the latter, a number of ignorant and idle monks, professing celibacy, but with indifferent moral characters, shaving their heads and counting beads very much after the fashion of the Budhist priests. A few Romish missionaries still make converts of the lowest and poorest Chinese, who occasionally appear at the churches and receive each of them a small donation of rice, for which reason they are sometimes called in Portuguese “rice Christians.”
The curious resemblance between the practices of Budhism and the Romish church goes still farther. Dr. Milne, whose zeal and talents accomplished much in a little time, but whose labours were cut short by an untimely death, supplied the following observations to the
Chinese Gleaner :'*_“There is something to be said in favour of those Christians who believe in the magic powers of foreign words, and who think a prayer either more acceptable to the Deity, or more suited to common edification, because the people do not generally understand it. They are not singular in this belief. Some of the Jews had the same opinion; the followers of Budha, and the Mahomedans, all cherish the same sentiment. From the seat of his holiness at Rome, and eastward through all Asia to the cave of the Jammaboos of Japan, this sentiment is espoused. The bloody Druids of ancient Europe, the naked gymnosophists of India, the Mahomedan Hatib, the Hoshầng (Budhist priests) of China, the Romish clergy, and the bonzes of Japan,-all entertain the notion that the mysteries of religion will be the more revered the * Vol. iii. p. 141.