A majority of the artists are content to copy old pictures of Buddhas sixteen disciples, the seven gods of happiness, and other similar assemblages of mythical or historical personages, not only because such work offers large opportunity for the use of striking colors and the production of meretricious effects, dear to the eye of the average Western householder and tourist, but also because a complicated design, as compared with a simple one, has the advantage of hiding the technical imperfections of the ware.
North-west of this another Asoka pillar has been discovered, recording his visit to the cairn erected by the Sakyas over the remains of Konagamana, one of the previous Buddhas or teachers, whose follower Gotama the Buddha had claimed to be.
Lieder der Manche and Nonnen, 1899, by the same; Dialogues of the Buddha, by Rhys Davids, 1899; Die Reden Gotamo Buddhas, by Neumann, 3 vols., 1899-1903; Buddhist Psychology, by Mrs Rhys Davids, 1900.
Thus the way was opened for other apparitional Buddhas, and different sects take different ones as the objects of faith and worship. Moreover, our true nature is also Buddha.
These were supposed to be celestial beings who, inspired by love of the human race, had taken the so-called Great Resolve to become future Buddhas, and who therefore descended from heaven when the actual Buddha was on earth, to pay reverence to him, and to learn of him.
A theory sprang up which was supposed to explain the marvellous powers of the Buddhas by representing them as only the outward appearance, the reflection, as it were, or emanation, of ethereal Buddhas dwelling in the skies.
These were called Dhyani Buddhas, and their number was supposed to be, like that of the Buddhas, innumerable.
But, being Buddhas, they were supposed to have their Bodhisats; and thus out of the five last Buddhas of the earlier teaching there grew up five mystic trinities, each group consisting of one of these five Buddhas, his prototype in heaven the Dhyani Buddha, and his celestial Bodhisat.
Was obtained, and also of commercial traffic from the distant west in the shape of records in Indian, Kharoshti and Brahmi scripts and an unknown script resembling Aramaic. The sacred grottoes known as the Halls of the Thousand Buddhas, south-east of Tung-hwang, were visited, with their frescoes and cave temples, and a large number of documents and examples of early Chinese art were recovered.
"My noble father," said Gotama, "you and your family may claim the privileges of Kshatriya descent; my descent is from the prophets (Buddhas) of old, and they have always acted so; the customs of the law (Dharma) are good both for this world and the world that is to come.