“In addition to other travelers, the Abbe Huc gives us an account of that wonderful tree of Tibet called the Kounboum; that is to say, the tree of the 10,000 images and characters. It will grow in no other latitude, although the experiment has sometimes been tried; and it cannot even be multiplied from cuttings. The tradition is that it sprang from the hair of one of the Avatars (the Lama Son-Ka-pa) one of the incarnations of Buddha.
But we will let the Abbe Huc tell the rest of the story:
“Each of its leaves, in opening, bears either a letter or religious sentence, written in sacred characters, and these letters are, of their kind, of such a perfection that the type-foundries of Didot contain nothing to excel them.
Open the leaves, which vegetation is about to unroll, and you will there discover, on the point of appearing, the letters or the distinct words which are the marvel of this unique tree! Turn your attention from the leaves of the plant to the bark of its branches, and new characters will meet your eyes!
Do not allow your interest to flag; raise the layers of this bark, and still OTHER CHARACTERS will show themselves below those whose beauty had surprised you. For, do not fancy that these superposed layers repeat the same printing. No, quite the contrary; for each lamina you lift presents to view its distinct type.
How, then, can we suspect jugglery? I have done my best in that direction to discover the slightest trace of human trick, and my baffled mind could not retain the slightest suspicion.”
We will add to M. Huc’s narrative the statement that the characters which appear upon the different portions of the Kounboum are in the Sansar (or language of the Sun), characters (ancient Sanscrit); and that the sacred tree, in its various parts, contains in extenso the whole history of the creation, and in substance the sacred books of Buddhism.
In this respect, it bears the same relation to Buddhism as the pictures in the Temple of Dendera, in Egypt, do to the ancient faith of the Pharoahs. The latter are briefly described by Professor W. B. Carpenter, President of the British Association, in his Manchester Lecture on Egypt. He makes it clear that the Jewish book of Genesis is nothing more that an expression of the early Jewish ideas, based upon the pictorial records of the Egyptians among whom they lived. But he does not make it clear, except inferentially, whether he believes either the Dendera pictures or the Mosaic account to be an allegory or a pretended historical narrative.
How a scientist who had devoted himself to the most superficial investigation of the subject can venture to assert that the ancient Egyptians had the same ridiculous notions about the world’s instantaneous creation as the early Christian theologians, passes comprehension! How can he say that because the Dendera picture happens to represent their cosmogony in one allegory, they intended to show the scene as occurring in six minutes or six millions of years?
It may as well indicate allegorically six successive epochs or aeons, or eternity, as six days. Besides, the Books of Hermes certainly give no color to the charge, and the Avesta specifically names six periods, each embracing thousands of years, instead of days.
Many of the Egyptian hieroglyphics contradict Dr. Carpenter’s theory, and Champollion has avenged the ancients in many particulars. From what is gone before, it will, we think, be made clear to the reader that the Egyptian philosophy had no room for any such crude speculations, if the Hebrews themselves ever believed them; their cosmogony viewed man as the result of evolution, and his progress to be marked by immensely lengthened cycles. But to return to the wonders of Tibet.”
H. P. Blavatsky