Слике страница
PDF
ePub

tition with our own people, is an idea which does more credit to its propounder's imagination than to his mental equipoise.

About the utility and practicability, then, of such an auxiliary force of farm laborers during the present crisis there can be no question, provided always that the plan is worked out and carried into operation by individuals familiar with the actual needs of the situation, with questions of transportation, and with the modes of thought and the manner of living of the peoples of the Far East. Such a plan, it is evident, would speedily supply the shortage which is universally admitted to exist in the supply of farm labor, and supply it, moreover, with a class of men more skilled than any in the world in the getting of food from the soil—"farmers of forty centuries," as the late Prof. F. H. King called them in his classical little book on the agriculture of the Far East. This class of labor would not come into competition with any in this country, first, because it would be under direct governmental supervision and not in the open labor market at all; and second, because the class of labor with which it might compete is practically nonexistent. If food is to win the war, it is surely more practical to enlist in its production a large force of experienced, industrious professional farmers, than to urge commuting business men to cultivate their backyards before and after office hours, or to set school children to work and expect them, with their lack of strength and experience, to make any effective contribution to the food supply of the allied nations.

There is, moreover, another advantage in the plan, only second in importance to the primary one that it enables us to increase the food supply more surely and speedily than in any other way. It is taken as a matter of course that such a force of laborers would be repatriated as soon as possible after the close of the war. Naturally, the signing of peace will not bring about by some miraculous means an instantaneous abundance of food and other material needs, and

can transform themselves into communities organized for peace. Nevertheless sooner or later this force of Chinese farm laborers would return to its native land. Instead, however, of returning the same untraveled, ignorant, unsophisticated individuals who left it to go to the United States, they would have undergone a training in American ideals and material culture and standards of living which could in no other way be given so advantageously to such great numbers of men. These men, upon their return to China, would scatter far and wide through the country, returning each to his native village, as every Chinese hopes to do; and there they would become advance agents, as it were, for American ideas and ideals, American products of many kinds, American notions in regard to the standard of living, of material comfort, of political and social and economic and educational processes—of all that group of ideas and of material facts which taken together form that particular type of civilization, founded upon liberty and law, which we regard as peculiarly our own and for the right to perpetuate which we are now fighting on the battlefields of Europe. In no other way could America so quickly and effectively aid her sister republic to find herself and establish herself upon those solid foundations of democracy and constitutionalism upon which we ourselves have built.

We affect to look with pitying contempt upon the aims of those misguided Oriental nations which have until recently endeavored to keep themselves free of contact with the nations of the west by pursuing a strict policy of exclusion of all foreign persons, products, and ideas. The motive behind this policy was of course the desire to ward off danger to national independence, just as our motive in pursuing an Oriental exclusion policy, in so far as it is not based on ignorant race prejudice pure and simple, is the desire to ward off possible economic dangers. These dangers, however, are not to be permanently averted merely by building dams and dykes against them. The flow of a river is not to be stopped by building a dam across its bed. Sooner or later the current will overtop the dam, or burst it asunder, and the ensuing flood will be more destructive than the danger which the dam was built to avert.

It is no longer possible for nations to shield themselves behind “Chinese walls” of seclusion and isolation, as we have tried to do hitherto. The Orient tried it and failed, and the same result is bound sooner or later to overtake a like attempt on the part of the Occident. The only solution, then, is to overlook no opportunity to extend a helping hand to the Orient, to aid it in every possible way in its efforts to advance, to grasp the essentials of modern civilized life, and to assimilate its standards of living to our own. In this way, and only in this way, can the danger of future economic competition of a disastrous nature be avoided. The Oriental is quite as susceptible as is his Occidental brother to the pleasure to be derived from creature comforts and luxuries, and he is equally averse to having these taken away from him once he has become accustomed to them. The reason why our present standards of living do not exist in China is the same which explains their nonexistence in the Europe and America of only a few generations ago; modern means of communicaton, of transportation, and of the application of machinery to the numberless processes of modern civilized life have not yet been introduced. The country is predominantly agricultural. Commerce, manufactures, mining, and transportation have yet to be developed to the point where they can begin to afford a livelihood to any very great part of the population. Political ideals will have to crystallize in the shape of definite, well thought out, generally accepted and consistently followed policies, both domestic and foreign. Until these changes take place standards of living and the crowding of population upon the limit of food supply will improve but slowly. The presence in China of a great army of men in the prime of life who have been in close personal contact with our American civilization in its manifold aspects would have an influence simply incalculable in aiding that country to accelerate its adjustment to modern world conditions with the least friction or waste of time and effort. The effect, too, upon the extension of American commerce after the war, through the foothold that would thus be gained in the Chinese markets, will at once suggest itself to every thinking man.

KOREAN BUDDHISM

By Frederick Starr

I am to speak to you this morning on the subject of Korean Buddhism. My reason for speaking on this subject is that little is known in regard to it anywhere. I therefore bring something that at least has the merit of being new to most of you.

Korea is always named as one of the Buddhistic countries of the world; it has been so for many, many years. We may divide the history of Korea into three very well marked periods of time. There is, first a period known as the era of the Three Kingdoms; it ended with the year 918, a date easy to remember because exactly one thousand years ago. The second period of Korean history is known as that of the Koryu dynasty. It began with the year 918 and came to an end in 1392, a year equally easy to remember beause precisely a century before the discovery of America by Columbus. The third period of Korean history, commonly known as the period of the Yi dynasty, began with 1392 and continued until 1910, when the independent history of Korea ended with its absorption by Japan.

The history of Buddhism in Korea is divided into the same three periods because the things which led to these breaks in the national history were landmarks in the history of the national religion. The early period was called the era of the Three Kingdoms because at that time the peninsula was divided among three different nations. In the north was the kingdom of Koguryu, sometimes called Koma. It occupied more than half of the peninsula. Its capital city was P'yeng-Yang, still a city of importance. The second kingdom was small; in the southwest of the peninsula, known by the name of Pakche, it was also called

1 An address delivered at All Souls Church, Chicago, March 10, 1918.

[ocr errors]

Kudara. The third kingdom occupied the southeastern section of the peninsula. It was larger than Pakche but smaller than Koguryu and was called Silla or Shiragi. Such, then, were the three kingdoms, which existed through a period of hundreds of years.

Buddhism first came to Koma. It was introduced in the year 369, and its introduction was the result of foreign missionary effort. In those days there was an empire of China, but there were also various small Chinese kingdoms on the northern border of the Korean peninsula. The first Buddhism that entered Korea came from one of those little Chinese kingdoms and it came naturally to the northernmost of the three kingdoms—to Koma. The king of that little Chinese kingdom sent the message by the hands of a priest named Sundo, who brought images and sacred texts. He was well received on his appearance in P’yeng-Yang. In fact, the king of the country put him in charge of the education of his son, the crown prince. In a few years the new religion made great headway, and, just as everywhere where Buddhism went, it carried with it education and art, and Koma became a center of culture and advancement.

Within a short time, Sundo was aided by a new priest sent from the same Chinese kingdom,-a man named Ado, who came in 374, when Sundo had been in the country about five years. The immediate effect of Ado's coming was that two great monasteries were built in P’yeng-Yang, over one of which Ado was placed, while Sundo was in charge of the other. These two monasteries were not only centers of religion; they were full-fledged universities, according to the idea of universities of those days. Buddhism spread rapidly, so that in 392 it became the recognized and official religion of the kingdom of Koma.

We are told that in the year 375, as the result of the coming of these foreign priests, the capital city of P’yengYang was laid out as a great ship. That sounds strange to us,—that a city should be laid out as a great ship. Although it is not an integral part of Buddhism, this idea of laying out the city of P’yeng-Yang as a great ship came from the Chinese teaching, and I want to say something about

« ПретходнаНастави »