OLD DIARY LEAVES, Fourth Series (1887-92)
by Henry Steel Olcott
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NOTHING could have been better than the Committees’ management of the tour, it having been planned so as to give all classes the chance of hearing what was to be said on behalf of Buddhism. Under the mutual-benefit compact made between the sect-leaders at the momentous Council at Choo-in Temple, Kyoto, I was made to lecture at the temples of their several religious bodies, now at one, now at another, sometimes at two in one day. Such mutual good-feeling between them was unprecedented, and all did their best to swell the numbers of my auditors and gather together the learned and unlearned, priests and laity, nobles and commoners, military and naval officers, and civilians. Every paper and magazine in the country occupied itself with accounts of the mission, its objects, its arguments, the proposed creation of a good understanding between Northern and Southern Buddhist, and the physical appearance of the “American Buddhist”. Meanwhile, poor Dharmapala lay in hospital at Kyoto, agonising with his neuralgia, and
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attended with loving tenderness by his self-constituted young nurses.
My discussion with H. E. the Governor of Tokyo led to his inviting me to dine with him at the Nobles’ Club, and meet the Prime Minister and his colleagues of the Cabinet. I was not a vegetarian then, so it is quite natural that I should have relished a meal out of the ample menu for the occasion, a copy of which, printed in Japanese and in French in parallel columns, I find pasted in my Diary, along with scores of visitors’ cards in Japanese, Chinese, English, and French, kept as souvenirs of this marvellous tour. To anticipate the wishes of those among my readers who like their mouths to water even though the eating be done by proxy, I think I shall copy the bill of fare just to show how far Feudal Japan is vanishing into the mists at the coming in of the French cook and his batterie de cuisine:
DINER DU 19 MARS, 1889
Potage tortue, à l’anglaise.
Brochet au court-bouillon aux crevettes.
Cotelettes ae veau piquées aux petits pois.
Cailles au riz.
Filet de bæuf, marine sauce piquante.
Aspic de foie gras belle vue.
Asperge en branche.
Dindonneaux rotis. Salade.
Pouding au painnoir.
Glaces aux fraises.
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What do you, reader of old illustrated books of travel, with their pictures of the dresses of Shogun, Mikado, Daimio, and their trains of Samurai knights of two swords, as complete incarnations of chivalric valor as the world ever saw or troubadour ever celebrated; of pike-bearers, forerunners, harbingers, clerks, and cooks; of feudatory petty chiefs and retainers, with pikes, scimitars, bows, and arrows, umbrellas, palanquins, led horses, and other marks of their grandeur suitable to their birth, quality, and office, and an hundred other appanages of the dignity of the families of these very Cabinet Ministers who sat at H. E. the Governor’s board with me, and ate his young turkey, his foie gras and his strawberry ices—what do you think of this spectacle of the 19th of March at the Nobles’ Club? There’s progress of a certain sort—backward, towards the kitchen and the stomach!
The dinner finished, H. E. the Prime Minister said that the gentlemen present would be glad to hear my views about the system of education which I thought most likely to advance the interests of a nation. Thereupon, I urged the necessity for blending the development of body, mind, and conscience in such a way that the ideal man and woman would be developed, declaring any other system faulty as tending to cultivate, as it were, monstrosities, abnormal growths, of athletes, opportunists, quibblers, casuists, seekers after mere worldly success. No nation could be really great whose foundations were not laid on character, and the loftiest ideal of human character was the individual
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who did his duty in this world, while training his spiritual nature to prepare it for the environment of the future, and push him on faster around the orbit of his cosmic evolution. I cited the examples of the nations which had fallen from great heights to the lowest of depths before disappearing from the face of the earth, and implored them to open their eyes to the strange operation of karmic law which had brought Japan to a front rank in the family of nations, aroused her wonderful latent potentialities, and brought my hearers and their colleagues and hereditary associates to the responsible opportunity of directing this revolution in the grooves of national progress.
Having made it widely known that I would thankfully accept gifts of books for the Adyar Library, kind friends and sympathisers daily brought such gifts, until by the time of my departure from Japan I had an accumulation of some 1,500 volumes. Included in these was the entire collection of the Tripitikas, over 300 volumes, formerly belonging to a deceased High Priest of the Jo-do sect. This was a very valuable present, as it enables one who knows both Pali and Japanese to compare the texts of the Northern and Southern Canons. Already we have had this done to some extent by Japanese priest-students who were guests at Adyar, but the real work is still to be done, and great results ought to come out of it.
On 18th March I lectured, by invitation, on “Practical and Scientific Agriculture” before the
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Japanese Agricultural Society, and on the next morning received notice of my election as an Honorary Member, together with a present of two rare Satsuma-ware vases, now deposited in our Library. At 2 p.m. I lectured in English to a cultured audience on “The Scientific Basis of Religion.” Showing the strong array of proofs which recent psychical research supplied towards the elucidation of the problem of the trans-corporeal extension of human consciousness. I also showed by diagrams on a blackboard how the basic idea of the correlation of spirit with matter for the evolution of visible nature had been expressed and preserved for our instruction in the arbitrary language of symbols, each of which had as definite meaning as the signs of algebra.
My appointed time for departure from the capital having come, I made farewell calls on the Prime Minister, the American Ambassador, and other acquaintances, got my passports from our Embassy, had a good-bye dinner given me at the Japanese Buddhist sects,1 and on the 23rd at 6 a.m. left by train for Sendai, a station far to the north, which was reached after a twelve hours’ run. Mr. Kimura, my Interpreter, and Rev. Shaku San, a most genial and excellent priest of the Zen-shu and Member of the Joint Committee, accompanied me. As an indication of
1 Cf. article “Buddhist and Indian Rosaries,” by S.E. Gopalacharlu, Theosophist, xi, 671.
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the tome of the Japanese press, the following paragraph from the Dandokai, an influential paper of the capital, will be read with interest:
“The arrival of Colonel Olcott has caused great excitement among the Christians in Japan. They say that he is an adventurer, a man of bad principles, and an advocate of a dying cause. How mean and cowardly are they! They may use the unprincipled pens at their disposal as much as they choose, but they cannot weaken the effects of his good principles, nor fasten upon him any of their scandalous insinuations. They do not produce the least effect upon Colonel Olcott or upon Buddhism. . . How ridiculous all this is! How great has Colonel Olcott’s influence become in Japan!”
From another issue the following is quoted:
“Since Colonel Olcott’s arrival in Japan, Buddhism has wonderfully revived. We have already stated that he has been travelling to all parts of the empire. He has been everywhere received with remarkable enthusiasm. He has not been allowed a moment of leisure. He has taught our people to appreciate Buddhism, and to see our duty to impart it to all nations. Since his discourses in Tokyo, the young men of the Imperial University and High Schools have organised a Young Men’s Buddhist Association, after the model of the Young Men’s Christian Association, to propagate our religion; and some learned and influential gentlemen have given encouragement. An additional lustre has also been given to Buddhism by his coming.”
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A correspondent of the Indian Mirror wrote: “One of the high functionaries who was present at the Colonel’s lecture predicted that his visit to Japan would have a considerable influence on Buddhism and the Buddhist people.” When we come to summing up the results of the visit, we shall see what remarkable testimonies have been given by Japanese authorities themselves. The tour must have been made at the real “psychological moment”.
We found it bitterly cold at Sendai. The Japanese empire stretches, it must be remembered, from 24° to 50° 40´ N. lat., and from 124° to 156° 38´ E. long., and the climate, as might be expected, is extremely varied. Thus, while the Riukiu and Bonin groups of islands, lying in the tropics, enjoy perpetual summer, the northern boundaries have the arctic temperature of Kamtchatka. In these northern latitudes snow has been known to fall to a depth of 8 feet: at Tokyo itself they have several snowstorms during the winter, each of from 3 to 5 inches’ fall, while in 1876 the whole city was covered to a depth of 2 feet or more. Add that, save in the few European-fashioned houses, there are no grates or heating furnaces, and that the screen-walled construction of most dwellings lets in every wandering air of heaven, and the reader can imagine what must have been the comforts of travel, and lecturing in huge, unwarmed temples, for me, a visitor from the tropics. I wondered how the Sinhalese priests would have enjoyed it in their loose yellow togas, their bare legs and feet, and their shaven scalps!
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On the 24th I lectured before H. E. Mr. Matsudaira, the Governor of Sendai Fu (Province), and the other principal officials of the place, and was, later, entertained by His Excellency at dinner. Fifty guests were present, and the evening was spent in interesting talk. The lecture in the great theatre to the public, on the next morning, was a grand success, to judge from the crush and the applause. Afterwards, Shaku San and Kato San, of the Committee, took me for a day’s rest to see Matsushima, a pretty seaside place, where there is a small cave and an old temple. It was a sunshiny day, but snow lay on the ground, and our sail among the group of islets off the shore was not as balmy an outing as would have been a similar one in Colombo or Galle harbor! However, it was an outing after all, a day’s respite from the fatiguing round of lecturings to overflowing audiences of thousands, and a break in the sense of deprivation of all privacy by day or night. My audience on the 26th numbered 3,500 as estimated, and they listened in deathlike silence, albeit they had fought and pushed and scrambled to get in. They consoled themselves, however, at the close by a furious outburst of applause that could have been heard a long way off. I paid a farewell visit to the Governor, and received, in the evening, a complimentary address from a deputation representative of all the sects, who gave me also a present of 30 yen towards the travelling expenses. On the 27th we went to Utsonomiya, where we stopped overnight. But at 9 p.m., tired though I was, I was
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dragged out to visit a temple and make a ten minutes’ speech!—like stirring up the animals in a travelling menagerie to make them growl. In the morning we started for Mayabashi. At a wayside station a body of priests in full canonicals paid me their respects, and presented me a silk handkerchief. We reached Mayabashi at 12.30, and an hour later I was on the platform again with a large audience to talk to. Some missionaries turned up after I had closed. But the next day’s audience was tremendous: I lectured at 2, and at 5.30 moved on to Tagasaki, where I spoke in a theatre to another big crowd. We left the next morning early, and dined and lectured at Kanagama. The view of the sea from the house of my host, Mr. Takashma, the great railway contractor, was very lovely, the harbor, shipping, and town of Yokohama being in sight. I slept at the Grand Hotel in that place that night, and at 11 A.M., the next day lectured in the Yokohama theatre, which, of course, was packed from floor to ceiling, though it was raining and the streets were very muddy. It was amusing to see the arrangement for caring for shoes and sandals at the door. When I arrived there must have been 1,000 each, in two different heaps, each pair tied together with a string of tough twisted paper, with a tag bearing a certain number, the corresponding ticket having been given to the owner on entering the building, a very simple and sensible plan. My own shoes were similarly cared for when I removed them and put on my warm, thick French chaussons. The Vice-Governor
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was present and brought me a complimentary message from his chief. At 2.30 we took train for Shidzuoka, and got there at 9.30 p.m. Then “to wished-for bed” at the hotel, which was exquisitely neat and well-ordered. The furniture—well, shall I describe it? I would, only there was none to speak of. The floor, as usual, laid out in squares of 3 x 6 feet in frames, within which was very fine white matting, stuffed with something underneath, thus forming a soft surface to sit on. At one side a sort of recess in which stands a handsome porcelain jar, a dwarfed tree in a pretty box, a religious scroll hung on the wall, and—nothing more. Soft small cushions for us to sit on around a brassy brazier or fire-pot in a square wooden tin-lined box, where a charcoal fire is kept burning, a couple of movable iron rods laid across to rest the kettle on, a tray close by with tiny eggshell porcelain cups and a canister of green tea, ready to hand for anybody who wants hot tea to warm his stomach with, and--a cordial, well-bred, sweetly kind manner, which shows you that you are most welcome. Those are my recollections of the Shidzuoka Hotel. But not quite all, for there were the sleeping arrangements. Fancy stuffed cotton mattresses, six or eight inches thick, one to lie on, the other to cover yourself with, and pillows to build up for your head to rest upon. That is all; no bedstead, no cot, no stretcher, just the two fthoon, and draughts of cold air getting at one from under the movable screen partitions. I tried to tuck the end of the top mattress around my neck, but that
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was impracticable, so I had recourse to my clothing, at the same time registering a vow to bring my own rugs with me, as we do in India.
It rained heavily that day, but I had to lecture in a Jo-do temple at 7 p.m. having previously called on the Governor and discussed politics and religion. We had bright sunshine again on 2nd April, and I lectured at 2 p.m. Our dear enemies the missionaries tried the game of putting me questions on what they thought vulnerable points in Buddhism, but my Diary says they “got more than they had expected,” so I may just leave the matter there. From a Dr. Kasuabara I received the unique gift of the large and ancient Mandara (religious painting) of woven silk, 1,200 years old, which is to be seen at our Library. It represents the doctrine of the Shingon sect as to the appearance of the Buddhas in the world and the glorious company of the Apostles (of Shin-gon orthodoxy). The generous Doctor told me that this had hung for centuries in a certain temple of which his family were the hereditary custodians; that this temple was burnt in, I think, some domestic internal war, and totally consumed with all its priceless art treasures save and except this very Mandara, which had been almost miraculously saved.
At 7 a.m. on the 3rd we left for Hamamatsu, on an open platform truck part of the way, and by trolley the rest, the railway being in course of construction then. I lectured in the afternoon, and, later, dined with seventy persons of influence, invited by H. E. the Governor.
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Okasaki was reached on the following day, and after an early dinner I lectured, with the Governor in the chair. The crowd was awful; hundreds could not get into the building, and I had to go out and show myself to them, and pacify their clamor. At 4 that afternoon we went on to Nagoya, Mr. Nanjeo’s place of residence. He met me in the train and put me up in the Hongwanji Temple. Our welcome at the railway station was a real ovation: there were bomb-firings, groves of Buddhist and national flags, gay, laughing crowds, cheers, and a procession of thirty or forty jinrickshas in line after me, each containing a priest or some important layman.
The next day I called on H. E. the Governor, visited the ancient castle, one of the chief historical edifices in Japan, where I saw wonderful. paintings, wood carvings, brass lanterns, and lacquers, and lectured to 4,000 people in the Hongwanji Temple hall. It was a grand sight. Here let me note a fact that upsets our Western popular theories as to the cause of baldness. We say it is due to wearing the hat too much or keeping the head too hot, but I noticed in Japan, as I had always among the Bhikkus of Ceylon, about the same proportion of bald heads as one sees among us, and yet those people go bareheaded throughout life. It was amusing to stand facing the door, looking over the heads of thousands of squatting persons, and see the shining bald heads reflecting the light among the multitude of stubbly, hairy scalps, like a shining saucer inverted in the grass of a field.
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If the 6th was not a busy day, I am much mistaken. At 8 a.m. we went to Narumi, a place 7 miles distant, and lectured; at 1 p.m. lectured in Nogoya in the other (Eastern) Hongwanji to 4,000 people; and at 7 p.m. gave a third lecture before the Governor, the Military Officers of the Province, and a picked company of 200 to 300 more, personally invited by the Governor. Mr. Kimura broke down, and Mr. Bunyio Nanjie finished the interpretation of the discourse. Kimura was a strong young man, I was 57. The Governor’s friendliness cost me dearly, for he kept me talking in a private room after the lecture, with a strong, cold, side-draught blowing on me from an open window, and I caught a severe cold in the bowels, which brought on an attack of my old army complaint, dysentery, which gave me trouble until almost the last day of my stay in the country. It made it doubly hard for me to travel about in jinrickshas and all sorts of other conveyances, standing up to lecture, eating meals at irregular hours, sleeping anyhow and anywhere, and being overwhelmed by the auras of swarming thousands of all sorts and conditions of men.
Our next point was Gifu, where there was a great crowd to hear me. The next morning, at the Mayor’s request, I gave a lecture at the Club to an audience of persons who would not come to the Hongwanji lecture: for which pettiness I gave them some plain talk, upbraiding them for frivolous quarrels with co-religionists when all ought to be united to promote the interests of our religion. I reminded them that, since
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I had come 5,000 miles to see them, they had paid me a poor compliment in staying away from my public lecture, and compelling me, ill as I was that morning, to give them a special lecture. I cannot say how much of this was translated to them, but at least those present who knew English had the benefit of my opinions. We left for Ogaki, but upon arrival I was so done up with fever, pain, and diarrhoea that I was forced to lie abed. Two doctors came, but could not do much, and I had a bad night. The next morning, however, I bestirred myself again, and lectured to 2,500 people before taking train at 11.30 a.m. for Kyoto. Part of the journey was by steamer, 50 miles, on Lake Biwa. How lovely the picture of blue hills with snowy peaks, glassy water, luxuriantly green shores, pretty islands and islets, picturesque hamlets, and here and there native craft with their queer sails and hulls! We reached Kyoto at 7, and I went straight to bed.
It is worth while to supplement my perhaps too optimistic narrative of the features and probable results of the tour with an occasional quotation from the press. The Madras Mail, a conservative Anglo-Indian journal, said:
“We observe, says a Japanese paper, that in Nagoya Colonel Olcott has been welcomed with extraordinary enthusiasm. His lectures were attended by fully 4,000 people on each occasion, and the wildest applause greeted his declarations of the close relationship that must, in his opinion, exist between the revival of Buddhism and the stable progress of the nation.
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Evidently the people’s hearts are inclined towards such teaching, for it is not at all likely that addresses, which necessarily lose nearly all their verve in translation, could rouse an audience to sympathy so strongly marked unless a powerful feeling existed in favor of the speaker’s idea. Of course the farther south Colonel Olcott goes, the warmer the response his preaching is sure to awaken. Religion in Tokyo and religion in Kyoto are two very different things. Nagoya occupies, perhaps, an intermediate position in respect of the vitality of its citizens’ creed. It would seem that Colonel Olcott’s Buddhist guides are determined not to let the grass grow under his feet. We read that he proceeded from Nagoya to Narumi and delivered a lecture there, returning at noon to address an immense audience in the Hongan Temple, and winding up with a third address to the Governor and a select party of about 250 at 7 o’clock in the evening. We have noted that the Tokyo critics express amusement at the notion that an American should be brought to Japan to propagate Buddhism. The criticism is certainly just if it be held that the Buddhist creed is essentially the property of the Orient, and that Westerners can have no proper share in propagating it. But the masses do not reason so closely. The coming of Colonel Olcott has evidently given Buddhism a fillip in Japan.”
Wednesday the 10th was a bright day, so I went to the hospital to see Dharmapala, whom I found convalescent, and revisited that splendid silk mill, but
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my physical troubles came again to the fore. The Indian mail brought me the latest Theosophist and a copy of The Secret Doctrine just out. On the Thursday Dharmapala was discharged cured, and with me visited Mr. Akamatsu for a long talk on Buddhistic affairs. My illness kept me rather quiet during the next four days, but I then went to Osaka and lectured on “India” to an audience of 500 or so at the Military Club, on the invitation of the Mayor and the General commanding the troops of the district. This was followed by a dinner given me by the Mayor, and I slept at the principal hotel. The Rev. Arisawa gave me a valuable old printed work on rollers, and Mr. Tamura, the merchant, specimens of old Japanese coins. The next day we went to Nara, visiting on the way the ancient temple Ho-diu-ji, where I saw a vast number of swords, spears, bows, women’s mirrors, combs, etc., etc., left as votive offerings in gratitude to the god Mu-nyak-ushi for cures of diseases and rescue from dire perils. We reached Nara in the afternoon, I very ill with the old army pest. I was shown the gigantic image of the sitting Buddha, the largest in Japan, as it measures 53 feet to the top of the head. It has been twice destroyed by fire, its last reconstruction dating back two centuries. The temple To-dai-ji (of the now almost extinct Kaygon sect) we visited. This sect is said to be a very old one, and the temple bears every appearance of it. At present the sect possesses only 5 temples, whereas it formerly had 1,000, the decadence being explained
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as due to the monks having been tempted to play soldier in some domestic troubles, and having been worsted and decimated, as by rights they should have been, for it is not the business of the Sangha of the Lord Buddha to debase their monastic ideal by entering the military career. The lay monks of the Tibetan lamaseries numbering thousands and tens of thousands, are said to do it, but that is no excuse. On the Friday we returned to Kyoto in jinrickshas, a 20-miles ride, through the rain. On the following day we witnessed a grand ceremony in Choo-in Temple in honor of the memory of the Founder of the Jo-do sect, and I was presented a 30-volume book on the Nichi-ren sect, in a neat wooden case, which was a very fine example of the fine carpentry for which Japan is renowned. I had up to this time delivered 46 lectures since the 9th of February, 64 days, besides all the journeyings hither and thither. The 47th was given at Nagahama to an audience of 3,500, my interpreter being a charming young gentleman of noble rank, Professor Sakuma, of Kyoto College, whose acquaintance, it was an honor to have made. The next day to Nagasawa, on the shore of Lake Biwa, to lecture at 1.30 p.m., and then dine; after which our programme took us to Hikone by rowing-boat. The lake was smooth as a mirror, but a Scotch mist was falling. We slept at the country-seat (now a Club) of the late Prince Ji-ka-mon-mokani, Lord of Hikone, who was assassinated on his way to Court for opening intercourse with foreigners—a martyr to the Karma of progress. The next morning
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I lectured at 8.30, despite my severe illness, and at 10 took the steamboat from Otsu to Kyoto. That evening I had the pleasure of witnessing the altogether charming ballet of the Miako-odori. Fifty-one pretty and graceful damsels, apparelled in the old court costume, danced and sang with exquisitely artistic groupings and posturings. It is a dance which, I believe, represents the budding of the flowers at the opening of spring. With Dharmapala I visited the new and huge temple of the Eastern Hongwanji, then almost ready for the opening ceremony. Dharmapala, his hospital doctors and company of boy nurses, were photographed on the 25th. On the 26th I had a cable from London from H. P. B. to come for a proposed two months’ tour. On the 27th I gave my 50th lecture at Choo-in Temple, and Dharmapala also spoke. There was an immense audience, and it was very demonstrative. On the 28th we started in jinrickshas with Professor Sakuma and some of the Committee for a mountain town hitherto unvisited by a European. We went 34 miles over an execrable road, and the ride was a very severe and trying one for one in my physical condition. We slept at Hinoke, and resumed our journey the next morning. By noon I was almost dead with fatigue, but I kept on after dinner (at To-no-ichi, where some rare books were given me), and reached our destination at last—Fu-kutchi-yama. The whole town was out to see our entry. A body of richly dressed priests came out to meet me, and headed the procession through the town. I was lodged at the
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Fo-ju-ji Temple, and did not keep my bed long waiting for its occupant. I rested all the next morning, receiving visitors and presents of books from all the chief priests of the local temples (of the Zen, Nichi-ren, Jo-do, and Shin Shu sects). At 2 p.m., lectured to as many people as could crowd into the building and on its verandahs and steps. Again, the next morning, a lecture to a crowd, among them being many people who had come from Ayabe, a town 2 ri off, which I was to have visited, but was obliged to cut off the list owing to my fatigue. Over 200 boys from a Buddhist school visited me, and I found on cross-questioning that not one of them knew who the Lord Buddha was—an ignorance that only matched that which prevailed in Ceylon before the Buddhist Catechism came into circulation.
On the 2nd we rode in jinrickshas 12 ri to Sonobé, where we passed the night. On Friday we shot the rapids of the Origawa river from Sonobé to Arashiyâma, about 20 miles, and enjoyed it exceedingly. I retain a vivid mental picture of the mountain gorges, the green clear water, the rushing rapids, the touch-and-go between ugly rocks, and the whirl of excitement—a splendid souvenir. From Arashiyâma to Kyoto by jinricksha, but before starting we went to see a sandalwood statue of the Buddha, said to be nearly 3,000 years old, and to be one of the historic three sent from India. There is the legend for whomsoever cares to believe it. The morning after our return to Kyoto we witnessed a gorgeous pageant in
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the Eastern Hongwanji Temple, the Master, Otani San, typifying Sakya Muni himself. He was attended: by a group of gaudily dressed youths personifying Bodhisattvas! The Committee gave me an excellent corner from which to see the procession move past, and the splendor of the silk silver-and-gold embroidered clothing was something to make Southern Buddhists, nursed on the traditions of the austere simplicity of the dress and habits of the priesthood, stare. Mr. Otani paid me what was considered an extraordinary honor by stopping as he came opposite the place where I stood and giving me a low bow. This from one who is looked upon as a sort of demi-god by the multitude of his sectaries was about as great a shock to them as an earthquake would have been. Yet, while thankful for the intended courtesy, I cannot say that it seemed to me to be the salutation of a typical Buddha in view of the gorgeous robes he wore, worth, I fancy, twenty or thirty thousand dollars, but rather that of some noble of the feudal Court of Japan, possibly a high Ambassador, trained to graduate the shares of court ceremonial to a nicety, so as to definitely express an entire message by a stately obeisance at a given angle of inclination. At any rate I fully comprehended that the Chief of the Eastern Hongwanji had told me as plainly as if the words had been spoken that the Buddhists of Japan were grateful for my efforts to restore the influence of the religion which had consoled and comforted so many countless millions during the past fifteen centuries.