Buddha was born in a part of the India near Bengal, his father was king of the country, and his mother, who died soon after his birth, dreamt upon conceiving him, that she had swallowed a white elephant.
As soon as he was brought into the world, he sprang upon his feet and walked seven paces, pointing with one hand to the heavens and wish the other to the earth, pronouncing distinctly the following words, There is none but myself in heaven or on earth that ought to be adored.
At the age of seventeen he married three wives, whom at nineteen he forsook together with all worldly cares, and withdrew into a solitary place where he put himself under the guidance of four philosophers called by the Indians Joghi; at thirty he was wholly inspired by the divinity, and commenced Fo or Pagod; he then applied himself with much zeal to propagate his doctrine, and performed many wonderful things which served to strike the people with dread, and procure great veneration to himself.
Confucius was born about the year 551, was almost contemporary with Buddha. Confucius was often heard to repeat these words, Si fang yeou ching gin, the meaning of which is, that in the West the Most Holy was to be found.
|Confucius, Shakyamuni, and Lao tzu|
Five hundred years later, it is recorded that Ming-ti the fifteenth emperor of the family of Han, was so struck with this declaration, and the image of a man who appeared to him in his sleep, that he sent two of his grandees towards the West, whence the vision seemed to have come, with orders not to return before they had found this Holy Person, whom heaven had given him some knowledge of, and till they had learned the doctrine which he taught.
The messengers, endured with the dangers and fatigues of the journey, at last arrived in the place where is the present Afghanistan. They met a Buddhist Monk and learned the doctrine, came back with many Sutra and some pagoda on a white horse. The Han Emperor received them with great respect, built a great temple to store these books. This temple was hence named White Horse Temple, which is still preserved in Si´an till today. That´s how Buddhism has been spread it throughout the empire.