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Shinto, Buddhism, and Christianity, which have been intertwined with each other for over a century in Japan, create a rich tapestry of spiritual and philosophical thought that has had a profound impact on the nature of preschools Wollons, Note 1. The theoretical basis of this study is located in the literature at the intersection of anthropology and psychology Shweder et al.

In this literature, individuals involved in the socialization and education of young children are presumed to hold cultural models that guide their actions e. Cultural models are "presupposed, taken-for-granted models of the world that are widely shared although not necessarily to the exclusion of other, alternative models by members of a society and that play an enormous role in their understanding of that world and their behavior in it.

Cultural models include beliefs or conceptual schemas e. However, cultural models are not necessarily associated with broad social categories like nation or ethnicity Kondo, ; they can be generated within smaller social units as well e. Furthermore, for important topics like rearing and educating children, a number of cultural models are available in a given community.

This cultural "pool" of beliefs and practices may contain elements that are in tension, or even in fundamental conflict, with each other Kojima, , The data are drawn from interviews and observations conducted in and in 32 early childhood settings 27 preschools, 5 child care centers in Tokyo and the Kansai area, which includes the major cities of Osaka and Kobe. Introductions to site directors were provided by officials in the regional association of private preschools and by colleagues in local universities.

Note 2 The sample was selected to ensure variation across type preschool, child care center , location urban, suburban , and auspice private, public.


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The visit to each setting included an observation of approximately 1 hour in a classroom serving 4-year-olds and an interview with the director and one or more teachers, conducted by the author and a Japanese bilingual associate. Note 3 The open-ended interview, which lasted from 1 to 3 hours, was designed to probe cultural models regarding goals of the preschool experience, theories about the role of the teacher in facilitating learning, views about discipline and control, details of the curriculum and activities, and perceptions about the family and its relationship with early childhood education.

The observations were used as a source of examples to deepen these extended conversations. All interviews were tape recorded; in addition, detailed notes were kept during the interview. Subsequent to the first round of data collection, a deductive process of preliminary data analysis occurred. Field notes and interview notes were reviewed and analyzed using a preliminary coding framework. In the second round of data collection, 3 schools were selected from the pool of 27 preschools. The author and a Japanese associate spent at least 5 days in each setting, observing in a classroom of 4-year-olds and conducting further interviews with staff.

Field and interview notes were reviewed regularly to develop hypotheses that could be probed in subsequent interviews and observations Strauss, At the end of the data collection period, all interviews were translated and transcribed by a bilingual Japanese doctoral student in education. The original Japanese terms used for key childrearing and educational concepts were retained along with the translated equivalents. A coding system was developed that permitted sections of narrative to be tagged with global categories e.

The transcriptions were then coded using a qualitative software package. The final stage of analysis involved a number of activities. First, all passages associated with each of the key codes were examined to obtain a sense of the variation that existed within each code. Next, the entire corpus of transcripts and field notes was reviewed to learn how the categories fit together at each school.

A matrix was generated listing the central findings pertaining to each category for each preschool. These steps resulted in the confirmation of earlier hypotheses about the clusters of cultural models that were shared by subgroups of the preschool staff. Reactions and commentary from these informants as well as field notes and written material provided by the preschools i. This paper is built primarily upon the comments of directors and teachers from four Buddhist preschools and four Christian preschools Catholic and Presbyterian.

We begin this discussion with the Christian schools. Although these schools spanned a variety of denominations, both Catholic and Protestant, they shared a number of cultural models that informed their programs. The amount of time devoted specifically to learning about Christianity varied among the schools. Most schools included a daily morning prayer and a prayer before and after meals. Attending a church service of some kind once a week was common. In the more actively religious schools, there was a designated time for listening to Bible stories.

At Christmas, they engaged in a number of activities; for example, literature samples obtained from two Catholic preschools each feature a photograph of the Christmas performance, which was an enactment of the Nativity. Although the schools spanned a variety of denominations, including Catholic and Protestant organizations, the staff held a number of cultural models in common. According to this central cultural model, children are gifts from God, and each one should therefore be highly appreciated hitori hitori o taisetsu ni. For example, Ms. The love of God means that God loves each individual child.

Each individual child is precious because he or she is a gift sent by God.

Through his or her parents, each individual child is delivered by God. Children at a Christian preschool practice a song for an upcoming performance. This cultural model had two direct implications for the daily routine at Christian preschools. One way of respecting the individual was to allow the children considerable freedom in deciding what they wanted to do.

Accordingly, free play formed the basis of the curriculum in all the Christian schools. For instance, as he came to realize the fundamental importance of individual self-determination in Western religious thought, Mr. In the past, the children went to the chapel once a week to pray.

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They had to walk with their hands folded. It was teacher centered, and the adults ordered the children around. The children tried to respond properly. I tried to destroy that atmosphere. A second implication was that the teachers placed a priority on encouraging children to articulate their own ideas and to integrate their views with those of their classmates. I observed Ms. Nagatomi, a teacher from Arima, handle such a class meeting for the purpose of discussing a "junk art" project in which children used tape and glue to create individual objects from household items like egg cartons and tissue paper boxes.

The projects were imaginative and intricate: a peacock whose tail could stand up when pulled with an attached string; a cardboard jewelry box with tissue paper cut into small squares and pasted to resemble stained glass; a serving of assorted sushi, complete with rosette of ginger and a wedge of plastic grass. Nagatomi picked up each project and asked its creator to say something about it. This carefully conducted discussion is consistent with the Arima philosophy of combining individual attention with developing an awareness of others and skills in interacting with them.

But Ms. Nagatomi was careful to balance this focus on the individual with attention to how the children interacted in the group context. But only they themselves know what they are making. Then they realize that others may see their creations differently. They realize the importance of how the other party sees their productions. Through the creation of a work, they learn to develop a common understanding kyoutsuu rikai.

This is my goal. Instead of one child learning a particular subject, we try to involve all the children in the shared learning. Children use tape during a "junk art" activity at a Christian preschool. Teachers in Christian preschools were particularly welcoming of children with disabilities because they felt it was valuable for the nondisabled children to encounter someone who had characteristics that differed quite saliently from their own.

Through daily interactions with children who were different from them in some ways, the students were thought to gain an appreciation for each individual but also to learn how to form relationships in spite of those differences. As the teacher at Arima said: As you may have noticed, we have a handicapped child in the class. I pay particular attention to that child, but I also ask other children, "Please help him while I am working with these other children. Because of that, he had difficulty in getting along with them.

Gradually, however, he became involved with other children. Perhaps because of the connection that their religious beliefs provided to Western thoughts and values, the directors of Christian preschools that I visited were more interested in learning about and adapting Western theories of early childhood education than were directors in other preschools.

Ishida, the director at Aizawa preschool, had sought wide exposure to Western theories of early childhood education. She had attended classes in the Montessori method, although the major emphasis of her training at a local Christian college had been on the methods of Froebel. Activities on the day I visited presented many opportunities to build literacy skills. The 4-year-old children were making vegetable soup with a recipe that featured written directions accompanied by pictures.

The 5-year-old children were re-creating their experience at a summer fair. Using large cardboard boxes, they constructed food stalls and activity booths. Their writing skills came into play as they created signs, menus, price lists, and other artifacts. Montessori materials are available at this Catholic preschool. Not surprisingly, the Christian preschools were the most similar to American schools of any that I visited.

The cultural models inherent in Christian thought have obviously permeated the views of children in the United States to a profound extent. This dual emphasis on individual development and social connection makes these schools likely to serve as models of good practice for American educators, who are apt to value these particular cultural models see also Kotloff, From the front, the Tennoji Buddhist Preschool building looks more like an insurance company than a preschool. The imposing modern structure is three stories high, with many windows whose darkened glass prevents outsiders from seeing in.

Yet, when one moves through the entryway and passes through the hall to the play yard, the peaked, tile roof of a traditional Buddhist temple looms into view. A close examination of the school philosophy at Tennoji and the other Buddhist schools reveals how three traditional elements of Buddhist thought have been artfully synthesized with modern preoccupations about preparation for elementary school.

Virtue toku as a Goal of Preschooling. The essence of virtue, according to the staff at Tennoji, was in developing a sense of consideration for others itawari no kokoro. They felt that kindness and consideration should be extended to all living things, including animals and plant life as well as humans. Children attend a service at the Buddhist temple associated with the preschool.

The emphasis on showing consideration for others is consistent with Buddhist teachings on compassion.


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For Buddhists, both wisdom and compassion are needed to help relieve the pain and suffering of the human condition. Buddhist ethics include "a deep sensitivity to the life of the cosmos, an ecological consciousness which combines esthetic refinement with a sense of responsibility" Dumoulin, , p. Japanese Buddhism is particularly explicit in its strong emphasis on compassion. For example, one of the strongest and oldest schools of Japanese Buddhism, the Shingon sect, urges its followers to practice Four Embracing Acts: charity, kind speech, beneficial acts, and adapting oneself to others.

For the director at Suma Buddhist preschool, informal daily prayer was another important vehicle for teaching compassion: Through a variety of activities, we would like children to appreciate the spirit of Buddha. Obviously, young children do not understand a deep philosophy like this, but I want teachers to convey gentle feelings to the children. Through activities, we would like the children to appreciate gentle feelings. Japanese put their hands together in prayer before eating a meal. They take doing so for granted.

In Christianity, people say "Amen," which corresponds to the Buddhist chant of " Namuamidaibutsu. Also they should extend their gratitude to their parents. They acquire this as a habit and this is most important. The Buddhist directors tried to be gentle in their exhortations about prayer as the means for developing a mind of appreciation. However, they were also quick to point out that Buddhism called for strength and determination as well as kindness: Raising cheerful, gentle, and healthy children akaruku sunao genki na kodomo is our overall philosophy.

This is from the Buddhist belief in which being strong, happy, and gentle is emphasized. You might think that in Buddhism you are generous to everything. This is not necessarily true. Living in a strong way is important in Buddhism. By being strong, I mean that one should do anything with confidence and determination.

The view among the Buddhist directors I spoke with was that children were like wild animals and needed to be tamed in preschool. At Tennoji, 3-year-old children were considered to be a particular challenge because they do not understand the school rules, resulting in a situation that is "chaotic" and leaves teachers feeling as if they are "fighting a war.

I first try to tame those children who seem to adapt easily. The limited data available on religious switching among Buddhists were factored into the main projection scenario for this report. In an alternative scenario, no religious switching was modeled in any country. A comparison of the two scenarios finds that at the global level, religious switching makes little difference in the growth projections for Buddhists.

About half a million Buddhists are expected to move from one region to another between and Most are expected to come from the Asia-Pacific region, where the vast majority of Buddhists reside. The primary destinations of these migrants are the Middle East-North Africa region , migrants , North America , and Europe , A small number of Buddhists 60, are forecast to move to the Asia-Pacific region from the Middle East and North Africa; many of them are returning after working in the oil-rich Persian Gulf countries.

These migration patterns are projected to continue in the decades ahead. See the Methodology for more information on how migration flows were estimated. The impact of migration on Buddhist populations in different regions can be seen by comparing results from the main projection scenario, which includes expected migration patterns from to , with an alternative scenario that does not attempt to take migration into account. Buddhists are expected to make up about 1. About Pew Research Center Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan fact tank that informs the public about the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the world.

It conducts public opinion polling, demographic research, media content analysis and other empirical social science research. Pew Research Center does not take policy positions. It is a subsidiary of The Pew Charitable Trusts. Age Structure Globally, Buddhists were older median age of 34 than the overall population median age of 28 as of , and more than half of Buddhists were ages 30 and older. Migration About half a million Buddhists are expected to move from one region to another between and Related Uncategorized Apr 2, Not a few scholars have attributed to him the purpose of breaking down caste-distinctions in society and of introducing more democratic conditions.

Buddha had no more intention of abolishing caste than he had of abolishing marriage. It was only within the limits of his own order that he insisted on social equality just as he did on celibacy. Wherever Buddhism has prevailed, the caste-system has remained untouched. Strictly speaking, Buddha's order was composed only of those who renounced the world to live a life of contemplation as monks and nuns. The very character of their life, however, made them dependent on the charity of men and women who preferred to live in the world and to enjoy the comforts of the household state.

Those who thus sympathized with the order and contributed to its support, formed the lay element in Buddhism. Through this friendly association with the order, they could look to a happy reward after death, not Nirvana but the temporary delights of heaven , with the additional prospect of being able at some future birth to attain to Nirvana, if they so desired. The majority, however, did not share the enthusiasm of the Buddhist Arhat or saint for Nirvana, being quite content to hope for a life of positive, though impermanent, bliss in heaven. Later developments and spread of Buddhism The lack of all religious rites in Buddhism was not keenly felt during the lifetime of its founder.

Personal devotion to him took the place of religious fervour. But he was not long dead when this very devotion to him began to assume the form of religious worship. His reputed relics , consisting of his bones, teeth, alms-bowl, cremation-vessel, and ashes from his funeral pyre, were enclosed in dome-shaped mounds called Dagobas , or Topes , or Stupas , and were honoured with offerings of lights, flowers, and incense. Pictures and statues of Buddha were multiplied on every side, and similarly honoured , being carried about on festal days in solemn procession. The places, too, associated with his birth, enlightenment, first preaching, and death were accounted especially sacred, and became the objects of pilgrimage and the occasion of recurring festivals.

But as Buddha had entered into Nirvana and could not be sensible of these religious honours, the need was felt of a living personality to whom the people could pray. The later speculations of Buddhist monks brought such a personality to light in Metteyya Maitreya , the loving one, now happily reigning in heaven as a bodhisattva , a divine being destined in the remote future to become a Buddha, again to set in motion the wheel of the law. To this Metteyya the Buddhists turned as the living object of worship of which they had so long felt the need, and they paid him religious homage as the future saviour of the world.

The emergence of the northern school Such was the character of the religious worship observed by those who departed the least from Buddha's teachings. It is what is found today in the so-called Southern Buddhism, held by the inhabitants of Ceylon , Burma , and Siam. Towards the end of first century A. Owing, doubtless, to the ever growing popularity of the cults of Vishnu and Siva, Buddhism was so modified as to allow the worship of an eternal, supreme deity, Adi-Buddha, of whom the historic Buddha was declared to have been an incarnation, an avatar. Around this supreme Buddha dwelling in highest heaven , were grouped a countless number of bodhisattvas, destined in future ages to become human Buddhas for the sake of erring man.

To raise oneself to the rank of bodhisattva by meritorious works was the ideal now held out to pious souls. In place of Nirvana, Sukhavati became the object of pious longing, the heaven of sensuous pleasures, where Amitabha , an emanation of the eternal Buddha, reigned. For the attainment of Sukhavati, the necessity of virtuous conduct was not altogether forgotten, but an extravagant importance was attached to the worship of relics and statues , pilgrimages , and, above all, to the reciting of sacred names and magic formulas.

Many other gross forms of Hindu superstition were also adopted. This innovation, completely subversive of the teaching of Buddha, supplanted the older system in the North. It was known as the Mahayana , or Great Vehicle, in distinction to the other and earlier form of Buddhism contemptuously styled the Hinayana or Little Vehicle, which held its own in the South. It is only by the few millions of Southern Buddhists that the teachings of Buddha have been substantially preserved. Buddha's order seems to have grown rapidly, and through the good will of rulers, whose inferior origin debarred them from Brahmin privileges, to have become in the next two centuries a formidable rival of the older religion.

The interesting rock-edicts of Asoka—a royal convert to Buddhism who in the second quarter of the third century B. Under his auspices missionaries were sent to evangelize Ceylon in the South, and in the North, Kashmer, Kandahar, and the so-called Yavana country, identified by most scholars with the Greek settlements in the Kabul valley and vicinity, and later known as Bactria.

In all these places Buddhism quickly took root and flourished, though in the Northern countries the religion became later on corrupted and transformed into the Mahayana form of worship. At the invitation of the Emperor Ming-ti, Buddhist monks came in A. Conversions multiplied, and during the next few centuries the religious communications between the two countries were very close. Not only did Buddhist missionaries from India labour in China , but many Chinese monks showed their zeal for the newly adopted religion by making pilgrimages to the holy places in India. A few of them wrote interesting accounts, still extant, of what they saw and heard in their travels.

Of these pilgrims the most noted are Fahien, who travelled in India and Ceylon in the years A. The supplanting of the earlier form of Buddhism in the northern countries of India in the second century led to a corresponding change in the Buddhism of China. The later missionaries, being mostly from the North of India , brought with them the new doctrine , and in a short time the Mahayana or Northern Buddhism prevailed.

Two of the bodhisattvas of Mahayana theology became the favourite objects of worship with the Chinese — Amitabha , lord of the Sukhavati paradise , and Avalokitesvara , extravagantly praised in the "Lotus of the True Law" as ready to extricate from every sort of danger those who think of him or cherish his name. The latter, known as Fousa Kwanyin , is worshipped, now as a male deity, again as the goddess of mercy, who comes to the relief of the faithful. Amitabha goes by the Chinese name Amita , or Mito. Offerings of flowers and incense made before his statues and the frequent repetition, of his name are believed to ensure a future life of bliss in his distant Western paradise.

An excessive devotion to statues and relics , the employment of magic arts to keep off evil spirits , and the observance of many of the gross superstitions of Taoism, complete the picture of Buddhism in China , a sorry representation of what Buddha made known to men.


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Chinese Buddhism was introduced into Korea in the fourth century, and from there taken to Japan two centuries later. The Buddhism of these countries is in the main like that of China , with the addition of a number of local superstitions. Annam was also evangelized by Chinese Buddhists at an early period.

Tibetan Buddhism Lamaism Buddhism was first introduced into Tibet in the latter part of the seventh century, but it did not begin to thrive till the ninth century. In , the Buddhist conqueror of Tibet , Kublai Khan, raised the head lama, a monk of the great Sakja monastery, to the position of spiritual and temporal ruler. His modern successors have the title of Dalai Lama.

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Lamaism is based on the Northern Buddhism of India , after it had become saturated with the disgusting elements of Siva worship. Its deities are innumerable, its idolatry unlimited. It is also much given to the use of magic formulas and to the endless repetition of sacred names. Its favourite formula is, Om mani padme hum O jewel in the lotus, Amen , which, written on streamers exposed to the wind, and multiplied on paper slips turned by hand or wind or water, in the so-called prayer-wheels, is thought to secure for the agent unspeakable merit.

The Dalai Lama, residing in the great monastery at Lhasa, passes for the incarnation of Amitabha, the Buddha of the Sukhavati paradise. Nine months after his death, a newly born babe is selected by divination as the reincarnate Buddha. Catholic missionaries to Tibet in the early part of the last century were struck by the outward resemblances to Catholic liturgy and discipline that were presented by Lamaism—its infallible head, grades of clergy corresponding to bishop and priest , the cross, mitre , dalmatic , cope , censer , holy water , etc.

At once voices were raised proclaiming the Lamaistic origin of Catholic rites and practices.

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Unfortunately for this shallow theory, the Catholic Church was shown to have possessed these features in common with the Christian Oriental churches long before Lamaism was in existence. The missionary zeal of Tibetan lamas led to the extension of their religion to Tatary in the twelfth and following centuries.

While Northern Buddhism was thus exerting a widespread influence over Central and Eastern Asia , the earlier form of Buddhism was making peaceful conquests of the countries and islands in the South. In the fifth century missionaries from Ceylon evangelized Burma. Within the next two centuries, it spread to Siam , Cambodia, Java, and adjacent islands.

Statistics The number of Buddhists throughout the world is commonly estimated at about four hundred and fifty millions, that is, about one-third of the human race. But on this estimate the error is made of classing and the Chinese and Japanese as Buddhists. Professor Legge, whose years of experience in China give special weight to his judgment, declares that the Buddhists in the whole world are not more than, one hundred millions, being far outnumbered not only by Christians , but also by the adherents of Confucianism and Hinduism. Professor Monier Williams holds the same views.

Even if Buddhism, however, outranked Christianity in the number of adherents, it would be a mistake to attribute to the religion of Buddha, as some do, a more successful propagandism than to the religion of Christ. The latter has made its immense conquests, not by compromising with error and superstition , but by winning souls to the exclusive acceptance of its saving truths. Wherever it has spread, it has maintained its individuality. On the other hand, the vast majority of the adherents of Buddhism cling to forms of creed and worship that Buddha, if alive, would reprobate.

Northern Buddhism became the very opposite of what Buddha taught to men, and in spreading to foreign lands accommodated itself to the degrading superstitions of the peoples it sought to win. It is only the Southern Buddhists of Ceylon, Burma , and Siam who deserve to be identified with the order founded by Buddha.

They number at most but thirty millions of souls. Buddhism and Christianity Between Buddhism and Christianity there are a number of resemblances, at first sight striking. The Buddhist order of monks and nuns offers points of similarity with Christian monastic systems , particularly the mendicant orders. There are moral aphorisms ascribed to Buddha that are not unlike some of the sayings of Christ. Most of all, in the legendary life of Buddha, which in its complete form is the outcome of many centuries of accretion, there are many parallelisms, some more, some less striking, to the Gospel stories of Christ.

A few third-rate scholars taking for granted that all these resemblances are pre-Christian, and led by the fallacious principle that resemblance always implies dependence, have vainly tried to show that Christian monasticism is of Buddhist origin, and that Buddhist thought and legend have been freely incorporated into the Gospels. To give greater speciousness to their theory, they have not scrupled to press into service, besides the few bona fide resemblances many others that were either grossly exaggerated, or fictitious, or drawn from Buddhist sources less ancient than the Gospels.

If, from this vast array of alleged Buddhist infiltrations, all these exaggerations, fictions, and anachronisms are eliminated, the points of resemblance that remain are, with perhaps one exception, such as may be explained on the ground of independent origin. The exception is the story of Buddha's conversion from the worldly life of a prince to the life of an ascetic, which was transformed by some Oriental Christian of the seventh century into the popular medieval tale of "Barlaam and Josaphat". Here is historic evidence of the turning of a Buddhist into a Christian legend just as, on the other hand, the fifth-century sculptures of Gospel scenes on the ruined Buddhist monasteries of Jamalgiri, in Northern Panjab, described in the scholarly work of Fergusson and Burgess, "The Cave Temples of India", offer reliable evidence that the Buddhists of that time did not scruple to embellish the Buddha legend with adaptations from Christian sources.

But is there any historical basis for the assertion that Buddhist influence was a factor in the formation of Christianity and of the Christian Gospels? The advocates of this theory pretend that the rock-inscriptions of Asoka bear witness to the spread of Buddhism over the Greek-speaking world as early as the third century B. Greeks within the dominion of Antiochus.

But in the unanimous judgment of first-rate scholars, the Yavanas here mentioned mean simply and solely the Greek-speaking peoples on the extreme frontier next to India , namely, Bactria and the Kabul valley. Again the statement in the late Buddhist chronicle, Mahavansa, that among the Buddhists who came to the dedication of a great Stupa in Ceylon in the second century B.

It is true that Alassada is the Pali for Alexandria; but the best scholars are agreed that the city here meant is not the ancient capital of Egypt , but as the text indicates, the chief city of the Yona country, the Yavana country of the rock-inscriptions, namely, Bactria and vicinity. And so, the city referred to is most likely Alexandria ad Caucasum. In short, there is nothing in Buddhist records that may be taken as reliable evidence for the spread of Buddhism westward to the Greek world as early as the foundation of the Christian religion. That Buddhist institutions were at that time unknown in the West may be safely inferred from the fact that Buddhism is absolutely ignored in the literary and archaeological remains of Palestine, Egypt , and Greece.

There is not a single remains of Buddhist monastery or stupa in any of these countries; not a single Greek translation of a Buddhist book; not a single reference in all Greek literature to the existence of a Buddhist community in the Greek world. The very name of Buddha is mentioned for the first time only in the writings of Clement of Alexandria second century. To explain the resemblances in Christianity to a number of pre-Christian features of Buddhism, there is no need of resorting to the hypothesis that they were borrowed.

Nothing is more common in the study of comparative ethnology and religion than to find similar social and religious customs practised by peoples too remote to have had any communication with one another. How easily the principle of ascetic detachment from the world may lead to a community life in which celibacy is observed, may be seen in the monastic systems that have prevailed not only among Buddhists, Essenes , and Christians , but also among the early Aztecs and Incas in the New World.

Nor is this so strange when it is recalled that men everywhere have, to a large extent, the same daily experiences, the same feelings, the desires.