The Ancient Buddhist Pantheon

The ancient Buddhist pantheon was full of deities or Buddhas,

3,000 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,

underwent austerities, and various sorts of penance, and at 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 Mahayanists 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 Mahayanists came to believe

in the doctrine that the believer is saved and led up to the eternal

state of bliss, without undergoing these hard disciplines, by the

power of a Buddha known as having boundless mercy and fathomless

wisdom whom he invokes.

Trikalpa-trisahasra-buddhanrama-sutra gives the names of

3,000 Buddhas, and Buddhabhisita-buddhanama-sutra enumerates Buddhas

and Bodhisattvas 11,093 in number. See Nanjo's Catalogue, Nos. 404,

405, 406, 407.

Those who believe in the doctrine of Holy Path. See 'A

History of the Twelve Japanese Buddhist Sects,' pp. 109-111.

Those who believe in the doctrine of the Pure Land.

The Absolute And Reality Are But An Abstraction The Application Of The Law Of Causation To Morals facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail