Professor Lanman gave the second lecture in the course on Buddhism in the Fogg Art Museum last evening, taking as his subject, "The Dhamma or Buddhist Teaching."
The root of Buddhism, said Professor Lanman, is popular pessimism. The early Hindoos however, were not pessimists. It is only the later Hindoos who believed life not worth having. Transitoriness, misery, and lack of reality, are the three characteristics of the Buddhist belief. Buddhism then, is a psychology without a soul, combined with a belief in transmigration. This apparent inconsistency is explained by calling that which migrates or Karma, a balance in the debit and credit account with futurity.
Buddha himself said his whole doctrine was hard to comprehend. It is such an elaborate system of philosophy that it was very little understood by the common herd. Its signal weakness is that it has no place for ambition or human endeavor.