or BUDHISTS, one of the three great sects of India, distinct both from the Brahminical sect, and the Jainas. The Bouddhists do not believe in a First Cause: they consider matter as eternal; that every portion of animated existence has in itself its own rise, tendency, and destiny; that the condition of creatures on earth is regulated by works of merit and demerit; that works of merit not only raise individuals to happiness, but, as they prevail, exalt the world itself to prosperity; while, on the other hand, when vice is predominant, the world degenerates till the universe itself is dissolved. They suppose, however, that there is always some superior deity, who has attained to this elevation by religious merit; but they do not regard him as the governor of the world. To the present grand period, comprehending all the time included in a "kulpu," they assign five deities, four of whom have already appeared, including Goutumu, or Bouddhu, whose exaltation continues five thousand years, two thousand three hundred and fifty-six of which had expired, A.D. 1814. After the expiration of the five thousand years, another saint will obtain the ascendancy, and be deified. Six hundred millions of saints are said to be canonized with each deity, though it is admitted that Bouddhu took only twenty-four thousand devotees to heaven with him. The lowest state of existence is in hell; the next is that in the forms of brutes: both these are states of punishment. The next ascent is to that of man, which is probationary. The next includes many degrees of honour and happiness up to demigods. &c. which are states of reward for works of merit. The ascent to superior deity is from the state of man. The Bouddhists are taught that there are four superior heavens which are not destroyed at the end of "kulpu," that below these there are twelve other heavens, followed by six inferior heavens; after which follows the earth; then the world of snakes; and then thirty-two chief hells; to which are to be added, one hundred and twenty hells of milder torments. The highest state of glory is absorption. The person who is unchangeable in his resolution; who has obtained the knowledge of things past, present, and to come, through one "kulpu;" who can make himself invisible; go where he pleases; and who has attained to complete abstraction; will enjoy absorption. Those who perform works of merit are admitted to the heavens of the different gods, or are made kings or great men on earth; and those who are wicked are born in the forms of different animals, or consigned to different hells. The happiness of these heavens is described as entirely sensual. The Bouddhists believe that at the end of a "kulpu" the universe is destroyed. To convey some idea of the extent of this period, the illiterate Cingalese use this comparison: "If a man were to ascend a mountain nine miles high, and to renew these journeys once in every hundred years, till the mountain were worn down by his feet to an atom, the time required to do this would be nothing to the fourth part of a ‘kulpu.'" Bouddhu, before his exaltation, taught his followers that, after his death, the remains of his body, his doctrine, or an assembly of his disciples, were to be held in equal reverence with himself. When a Cingalese, therefore, approaches an image of Bouddhu, he says, "I take refuge in Bouddhu: I take refuge in his doctrine; I take refuge in his followers." There are five commands given to the common Bouddhists; the first forbids the destruction of animal life; the second forbids theft; the third, adultery; the fourth, falsehood; the fifth, the use of spirituous liquors. There are other commands for superior classes, or devotees, which forbid dancing, songs, music, festivals, perfumes, elegant dresses, elevated seats, &c. Among works of the highest merit, one is the feeding of a hungry infirm tiger with a person's own flesh.