GREAT RELIGIOUS TEACHERS OF THE ORIENT

THEN arose a great teacher, Gautama (557-477 B.C.), to 1. whom the name Buddha (the Enlightened) was given. He denied that the Brahmins had the monopoly of religious truth, and opened to all classes without exception the possibilities of reaching Nirvana, which means the removal of all base vices and the extinction of future existence and pain. Though he did not attack the caste system, he taught that Nirvana could be won, not by self-torture or by special rites, but by practising virtue, which consists above all else in loving others and injuring no living thing. Buddha's preaching was immediately popular, but was not widespread until the reign of Asoka (264-228 B.C.) This king was the grandson of a Hindu who had met Alexander when he conquered India in 327 and had unfolded to him plans for further conquests. Alexander had been prevented by his soldiers from following these suggestions, but the Hindu had won himself a kingdom on his own account in the Ganges Valley (321-296 B.C.). Asoka was so convinced