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By Trevor Ling

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The monks have a complicated code of morals, and their life in the community is governed by more 28 Buddhism as a Religion than two hundred rules, all of which must be carefully observed. A year or two ago, or perhaps ten or twenty, the monk's head was shaved and he was presented with the orangecoloured robe and the few small essential possessions that he is allowed. After the ordination ceremony, conducted by the abbot of the monastery to which he was seeking admission, he entered the Order and has since then spent his time chiefly in meditation, but possibly also in some study of Buddhist metaphysics, learning by heart long complicated lists of all the various states of consciousness, their moral and psychic roots (whether good, bad or neutral), and the multitude of their possible combinations and future consequences.

1 But in a religious point of view alone, their influence is a mighty one. Upon that very Order hinges the whole fabric of Buddhism. From it, as from a source, flows the life that maintains and invigorates religious belief in the masses that profess that creed. We may view the members of the Order as religious, and as instructors of the people at large, and principally of youth. 'z This short quotation is fairly representative of the whole chapter which Bigandet devotes to the subject. While he does not fail to speak of abuses which have crept into the Sangha, he is, he says, desirous of dealing with the life of the Sangha fairly and impartially, for this it well deserves.

It is in this sense that the word Dharma is used to mean the doctrine, or the law. In popular understanding the Dharma thus comes to connote the threefold collection of scripture, the Tripitaka. More especially, it comes to be identified with the second of the three collections, the Sutta Pi~aka. This is the section of the scriptures which is made up largely of stories of the Buddha and his early disciples, together with ancient Indian legends, and discourses based upon them. In this vast concourse of writings the Dharma is set forth in a great variety of ways.

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