~From Ch'ang-gan to the Sandy Desert~
Fâ-Hien had been living in Ch'ang-gan. [1] Deploring the mutilated and imperfect state of the collection of the Books of Discipline, in the second year of the period Hwang-che, being the Ke-hâe year of the cycle, [2] he entered into an engagement with Hwuy-king, Tâo-ching, Hwuy-ying, and Hwuy-wei, that they should go to India and seek for the Disciplinary Rules.
After starting from Ch'ang-gan, they passed through Lung, [3] and came to the kingdom of K'een-kwei,[4] where they stopped for the summer retreat. When that was over, they went forward to the kingdom of Now-t'an, crossed the mountain of Yang-low, and reached the emporium of Chang-yih.[5] There they found the country so much disturbed that travelling on the roads was impossible for them. Its king, however, was very attentive to them, kept them in his capital, and acted the part of their dânapati.[6]
Here they met with Che-yen, Hwuy-keen, Sang-shâo, Pâo-yun, and Sang-king; and in pleasant association with them, as bound on the same journey with themselves, they passed the summer retreat of that year [7] together, resuming after it their travelling, and going on to T'un-hwang, [8] the chief town in the frontier territory of defence extending for about eighty li from east to west, and about forty from north to south. Their company, increased as it had been, halted there for some days more than a month, after which Fâ-hien and his four friends started first in the suite of an envoy, having separated for a time from Pâo-yun and his associates.
Le Hâo, the prefect of Tun-hwang, had supplied them with the means of crossing the desert before them, in which there are many evil demons and hot winds. Travellers who encounter them perish all to a man. There is not a bird to be seen in the air above, nor an animal on the ground below. Though you look all round most earnestly to find where you can cross, you know not where to make your choice, the only mark and indication being the dry bones of the dead left upon the sand.
[Footnote 1: Ch'ang-gan is still the name of the principal district (and its city) in the department of Se-gan, Shen-se. It had been the capital of the first empire of Han (B.C. 202 A.D. 24), as it subsequently was that of Suy (A.D. 589-618).]
[Footnote 2: The period Hwang-che embraced from A.D. 399 to 414, being the greater portion of the reign of Yâo Hing of the After Ts'in, a powerful prince. He adopted Hwang-che for the style of his reign in 399, and the cyclical name of that year was Kang-tsze. It is not possible at this distance of time to explain, if it could be explained, how Fâ-hien came to say that Ke-hâe was the second year of the period. It seems most reasonable to suppose that he set out on his pilgrimage in A.D. 399, the cycle name of which was Ke-hâe. In the "Memoirs of Eminent Monks" it is said that our author started in the third year of the period Lung-gan of the Eastern Ts'in, which was A.D. 399.]
[Footnote 3: Lung embraced the western part of Shen-se and the eastern part of Kan-suh. The name remains in Lung Chow, in the extreme west of Shen-se.]
[Footnote 4: K'een-kwei was the second king of "the Western Ts'in." Fâ-hien would find him at his capital, somewhere in the present department of Lan-chow, Kan-suh.]
[Footnote 5: Chang-yih is still the name of a district in Kan-chow department, Kan-suh. It is a long way north and west from Lan-chow, and not far from the Great Wall. Its king at this time was, probably, Twan-yeh of "the northern Lëang."]
[Footnote 6: Dâna is the name for religious charity, the first of the six pâramitâs, or means of attaining to nirvâna; and a dânapati is "one who practises dâna and thereby crosses the sea of misery."]
[Footnote 7: This was the second summer since the pilgrims left
Ch'ang-gan. We are now, therefore, probably, in A.D. 400.]
[Footnote 8: T'un-hwang is still the name of one of the two districts constituting the department of Gan-se, the most western of the prefectures of Kan-suh; beyond the termination of the Great Wall.]


~On to Shen-shen and thence to Khoten~
After travelling for seventeen days, a distance we may calculate of about 1500 li, the pilgrims reached the kingdom of Shen-shen, a country rugged and hilly, with a thin and barren soil. The clothes of the common people are coarse, and like those worn in our land of Han, [1] some wearing felt and others coarse serge or cloth of hair; this was the only difference seen among them. The king professed our Law, and there might be in the country more than four thousand monks, who were all students of the hînayâna. [2] The common people of this and other kingdoms in that region, as well as the Sramans, [3] all practise the rules of India, only that the latter do so more exactly, and the former more loosely. So the travellers found it in all the kingdoms through which they went on their way from this to the west, only that each had its own peculiar barbarous speech. The monks, however, who had given up the worldly life and quitted their families, were all students of Indian books and the Indian language. Here they stayed for about a month, and then proceeded on their journey, fifteen days' walking to the northwest bringing them to the country of Woo-e. In this also there were more than four thousand monks, all students of the hînayâna. They were very strict in their rules, so that Sramans from the territory of Ts'in were all unprepared for their regulations. Fâ-hien, through the management of Foo Kung-sun, maître d'hotellerie, was able to remain with his company in the monastery where they were received for more than two months, and here they were rejoined by Pâo-yun and his friends. At the end of that time the people of Woo-e neglected the duties of propriety and righteousness, and treated the strangers in so niggardly a manner that Che-yen, Hwuy-keen, and Hwuy-wei went back towards Kâo-ch'ang, hoping to obtain there the means of continuing their journey. Fâ-hien and the rest, however, through the liberality of Foo Kung-sun, managed to go straight forward in a southwest direction. They found the country uninhabited as they went along. The difficulties which they encountered in crossing the streams and on their route, and the sufferings which they endured, were unparalleled in human experience, but in the course of a month and five days they succeeded in reaching Yu-teen.
[Footnote 1: This is the name which Fâ-hien always uses when he would speak of China, his native country, as a whole, calling it from the great dynasty which had ruled it, first and last, for between four and five centuries. Occasionally, as we shall immediately see, he speaks of "the territory of Ts'in or Ch'in," but intending thereby only the kingdom of Ts'in, having its capital in Ch'ang-gan.]
[Footnote 2: Meaning the "small vehicle, or conveyance." There are in Buddhism the triyâna, or "three different means of salvation, i.e. of conveyance across the samsâra, or sea of transmigration, to the shores of nirvâna. Afterwards the term was used to designate the different phases of development through which the Buddhist dogma passed, known as the mahâyâna, hînayâna, and madhyamayâna." "The hînayâna is the simplest vehicle of salvation, corresponding to the first of the three degrees of saintship." E.H., pp. 151-2, 45, and 117.]
[Footnote 3: "Sraman" may in English take the place of Sramana, the name for Buddhist monks, as those who have separated themselves from (left) their families, and quieted their hearts from all intrusion of desire and lust.]


~Khoten—Processions of Images~
Yu-Teen is a pleasant and prosperous kingdom, with a numerous and flourishing population. The inhabitants all profess our Law, and join together in its religious music for their enjoyment. The monks amount to several myriads, most of whom are students of the mahâyâna. [1] They all receive their food from the common store. Throughout the country the houses of the people stand apart like separate stars, and each family has a small tope [2] reared in front of its door. The smallest of these may be twenty cubits high, or rather more. They make in the monasteries rooms for monks from all quarters, the use of which is given to travelling monks who may arrive, and who are provided with whatever else they require.
The lord of the country lodged Fâ-hien and the others comfortably, and supplied their wants, in a monastery called Gomati, of the mahâyâna school. Attached to it there are three thousand monks, who are called to their meals by the sound of a bell. When they enter the refectory, their demeanor is marked by a reverent gravity, and they take their seats in regular order, all maintaining a perfect silence. No sound is heard from their alms-bowls and other utensils. When any of these pure men require food, they are not allowed to call out to the attendants for it, but only make signs with their hands.
Hwuy-king, Tâo-ching, and Hwuy-tah set out in advance towards the country of K'eeh-ch'â; but Fâ-hien and the others, wishing to see the procession of images, remained behind for three months. There are in this country four great monasteries, not counting the smaller ones. Beginning on the first day of the fourth month, they sweep and water the streets inside the city, making a grand display in the lanes and byways. Over the city gate they pitch a large tent, grandly adorned in all possible ways, in which the king and queen, with their ladies brilliantly arrayed, take up their residence for the time.
The monks of the Gomati monastery, being mahâyâna students, and held in greatest reverence by the king, took precedence of all the others in the procession. At a distance of three or four li from the city, they made a four-wheeled image car, more than thirty cubits high, which looked like the great hall of a monastery moving along. The seven precious substances [3] were grandly displayed about it, with silken streamers and canopies hanging all around. The chief image stood in the middle of the car, with two Bodhisattvas [4] in attendance on it, while devas were made to follow in waiting, all brilliantly carved in gold and silver, and hanging in the air. When the car was a hundred paces from the gate, the king put off his crown of state, changed his dress for a fresh suit, and with bare feet, carrying in his hands flowers and incense, and with two rows of attending followers, went out at the gate to meet the image; and, with his head and face bowed to the ground, he did homage at its feet, and then scattered the flowers and burnt the incense. When the image was entering the gate, the queen and the brilliant ladies with her in the gallery above scattered far and wide all kinds of flowers, which floated about and fell promiscuously to the ground. In this way everything was done to promote the dignity of the occasion. The carriages of the monasteries were all different, and each one had its own day for the procession. The ceremony began on the first day of the fourth month, and ended on the fourteenth, after which the king and queen returned to the palace.
Seven or eight li to the west of the city there is what is called the King's new monastery, the building of which took eighty years, and extended over three reigns. It may be two hundred and fifty cubits in height, rich in elegant carving and inlaid work, covered above with gold and silver, and finished throughout with a combination of all the precious substances. Behind the tope there has been built a Hall of Buddha, of the utmost magnificence and beauty, the beams, pillars, venetianed doors and windows, being all overlaid with gold-leaf. Besides this, the apartments for the monks are imposingly and elegantly decorated, beyond the power of words to express. Of whatever things of highest value and preciousness the kings in the six countries on the east of the Ts'ung range of mountains are possessed, they contribute the greater portion to this monastery, using but a small portion of them themselves.
[Footnote 1: Mahâyâna is a later form of the Buddhist doctrine, the second phase of its development corresponding to the state of a Bodhisattva, who, being able to transport himself and all mankind to nirvâna, may be compared to a huge vehicle.]
[Footnote 2: A worshipping place, an altar, or temple.]
[Footnote 3: The Sapta-ratna, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, rock crystal, rubies, diamonds or emeralds, and agate.]
[Footnote 4: A Bodhisattva is one whose essence has become intelligence; a Being who will in some future birth as a man (not necessarily or usually the next) attain to Buddhahood. The name does not include those Buddhas who have not yet attained to parinirvâna. The symbol of the state is an elephant fording a river.]


~Through the Ts'ung Mountains to K'eech-ch'a~
When the processions of images in the fourth month were over, Sang-shâo, by himself alone, followed a Tartar who was an earnest follower of the Law, and proceeded towards Ko-phene. Fâ-hien and the others went forward to the kingdom of Tsze-hoh, which it took them twenty-five days to reach. Its king was a strenuous follower of our Law, and had around him more than a thousand monks, mostly students of the mahâyâna. Here the travellers abode fifteen days, and then went south for four days, when they found themselves among the Ts'ung-ling mountains, and reached the country of Yu-hwuy, where they halted and kept their retreat. [1] When this was over, they went on among the hills for twenty-five days, and got to K'eeh-ch'a, there rejoining Hwuy-king and his two companions.
[Footnote 1: This was the retreat already twice mentioned as kept by the pilgrims in the summer, the different phraseology, "quiet rest," without any mention of the season, indicating their approach to India. Two, if not three, years had elapsed since they left Ch'ang-gan. Are we now with them in 402?]


~Great Quinquennial Assembly of Monks~
It happened that the king of the country was then holding the pañcha parishad; that is, in Chinese, the great quinquennial assembly. When this is to be held, the king requests the presence of the Sramans from all quarters of his kingdom. They come as if in clouds; and when they are all assembled, their place of session is grandly decorated. Silken streamers and canopies are hung out in it, and water-lilies in gold and silver are made and fixed up behind the places where the chief of them are to sit. When clean mats have been spread, and they are all seated, the king and his ministers present their offerings according to rule and law. The assembly takes place in the first, second, or third month, for the most part in the spring.
After the king has held the assembly, he further exhorts the ministers to make other and special offerings. The doing of this extends over one, two, three, five, or even seven days; and when all is finished, he takes his own riding-horse, saddles, bridles, and waits on him himself, while he makes the noblest and most important minister of the kingdom mount him. Then, taking fine white woollen cloth, all sorts of precious things, and articles which the Sramans require, he distributes them among them, uttering vows at the same time along with all his ministers; and when this distribution has taken place, he again redeems whatever he wishes from the monks.
The country, being among the hills and cold, does not produce the other cereals, and only the wheat gets ripe. After the monks have received their annual portion of this, the mornings suddenly show the hoar-frost, and on this account the king always begs the monks to make the wheat ripen [1] before they receive their portion. There is in the country a spittoon which belonged to Buddha, made of stone, and in color like his alms-bowl. There is also a tooth of Buddha, for which the people have reared a tope, connected with which there are more than a thousand monks and their disciples, all students of the hînayâna. To the east of these hills the dress of the common people is of coarse materials, as in our country of Ts'in, but here also there were among them the differences of fine woollen cloth and of serge or haircloth. The rules observed by the Sramans are remarkable, and too numerous to be mentioned in detail. The country is in the midst of the Onion range. As you go forward from these mountains, the plants, trees, and fruits are all different from those of the land of Han, excepting only the bamboo, pomegranate, and sugarcane.
[Footnote 1: Watters calls attention to this as showing that the monks of K'eeh-ch'â had the credit of possessing weather-controlling powers.]


~North India—Image of Maitreya Bodhisattva~
From this the travellers went westward towards North India, and after being on the way for a month, they succeeded in getting across and through the range of the Onion mountains. The snow rests on them both winter and summer. There are also among them venomous dragons, which, when provoked, spit forth poisonous winds, and cause showers of snow and storms of sand and gravel. Not one in ten thousand of those who encounter these dangers escapes with his life. The people of the country call the range by the name of "The Snow mountains." When the travellers had got through them, they were in North India, and immediately on entering its borders, found themselves in a small kingdom called T'oleih, where also there were many monks, all students of the hînayâna.
In this kingdom there was formerly an Arhan, [1] who by his supernatural power took a clever artificer up to the Tushita [2] heaven, to see the height, complexion, and appearance of Maitreya Bodhisattva, [3] and then return and make an image of him in wood. First and last, this was done three times, and then the image was completed, eighty cubits in height, and eight cubits at the base from knee to knee of the crossed legs. On fast-days it emits an effulgent light. The kings of the surrounding countries vie with one another in presenting offerings to it. Here it is—to be seen now as of old.
[Footnote 1: Lo-han, Arhat, Arahat are all designations of the perfected Ârya, the disciple who has passed the different stages of the Noble Path, or eightfold excellent way, who has conquered all passions, and is not to be reborn again. Arhatship implies possession of certain supernatural powers, and is not to be succeeded by Buddhaship, but implies the fact of the saint having already attained Nirvâna.]
[Footnote 2: Tushita is the fourth Devaloka, where all Bodhisattvas are reborn before finally appearing on earth as Buddha. Life lasts in Tushita four thousand years, but twenty-four hours there are equal to four hundred years on earth.]
[Footnote 3: Maitreya was a Bodhisattva, the principal one, indeed, of Sâkyamuni's retinue, but is not counted among the ordinary disciples, nor is anything told of his antecedents. It was in the Tushita heaven that Sâkyamuni met him and appointed him as his successor, to appear as Buddha after the lapse of five thousand years. Maitreya is therefore the expected Messiah of the Buddhists, residing at present in Tushita.]


~The Perilous Crossing of the Indus~
The travellers went on to the southwest for fifteen days at the foot of the mountains, and following the course of their range. The way was difficult and rugged, running along a bank exceedingly precipitous, which rose up there, a hill-like wall of rock, ten thousand cubits from the base. When one approached the edge of it, his eyes became unsteady; and if he wished to go forward in the same direction, there was no place on which he could place his foot; and beneath were the waters of the river called the Indus. In former times men had chiselled paths along the rocks, and distributed ladders on the face of them, to the number altogether of seven hundred, at the bottom of which there was a suspension bridge of ropes, by which the river was crossed, its banks being there eighty paces apart. The place and arrangements are to be found in the Records of the Nine Interpreters, but neither Chang K'een [1] nor Kan Ying [2] had reached the spot.
The monks asked Fâ-hien if it could be known when the Law of Buddha first went to the east. He replied, "When I asked the people of those countries about it, they all said that it had been handed down by their fathers from of old that, after the setting up of the image of Maitreya Bodhisattva, there were Sramans of India who crossed this river, carrying with them Sútras and Books of Discipline. Now the image was set up rather more than three hundred years after the Nirvâna of Buddha, which may be referred to the reign of king P'ing of the Chow dynasty. According to this account we may say that the diffusion of our great doctrines in the East began from the setting up of this image. If it had not been through that Maitreya, the great spiritual master who is to be the successor of the Sâkya, who could have caused the 'Three Precious Ones,' [3] to be proclaimed so far, and the people of those border lands to know our Law? We know of a truth that the opening of the way for such a mysterious propagation is not the work of man; and so the dream of the emperor Ming of Han had its proper cause."
[Footnote 1: Chang K'een, a minister of the emperor Woo of Han (B.C. 140-87), is celebrated as the first Chinese who "pierced the void," and penetrated to "the regions of the west," corresponding very much to the present Turkestan. Through him, by B.C. 115, a regular intercourse was established between China and the thirty-six kingdoms or states of that quarter.]
[Footnote 2: Less is known of Kan Ying than of Chang K'een. Being sent in A.D. 88 by his patron Pan Châo on an embassy to the Roman empire, he only got as far as the Caspian sea, and returned to China. He extended, however, the knowledge of his countrymen with regard to the western regions.]
[Footnote 3: "The precious Buddha," "the precious Law," and "the precious Monkhood"; Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; the whole being equivalent to Buddhism.]


~Woo-chang, or Udyâna—Traces of Buddha~
After crossing the river, the travellers immediately came to the kingdom of Woo-chang, which is indeed a part of North India. The people all use the language of Central India, "Central India" being what we should call the "Middle Kingdom." The food and clothes of the common people are the same as in that Central Kingdom. The Law of Buddha is very flourishing in Woo-chang. They call the places where the monks stay for a time or reside permanently Sanghârâmas; and of these there are in all five hundred, the monks being all students of the hînayâna. When stranger bhikshus [1] arrive at one of them, their wants are supplied for three days, after which they are told to find a resting-place for themselves.
There is a tradition that when Buddha came to North India, he came at once to this country, and that here he left a print of his foot, which is long or short according to the ideas of the beholder on the subject. It exists, and the same thing is true about it, at the present day. Here also are still to be seen the rock on which he dried his clothes, and the place where he converted the wicked dragon. The rock is fourteen cubits high, and more than twenty broad, with one side of it smooth.
Hwuy-king, Hwuy-tah, and Tâo-ching went on ahead towards the place of Buddha's shadow in the country of Nâgara; but Fâ-hien and the others remained in Woo-chang, and kept the summer retreat. That over, they descended south, and arrived in the country of Soo-ho-to.
[Footnote 1: Bhikshu is the name for a monk as "living by alms," a mendicant. All bhikshus call themselves Sramans. Sometimes the two names are used together by our author.]


~Soo-ho-to—Legends of Buddha~
In that country also Buddhism is flourishing. There is in it the place where Sakra, [1] Ruler of Devas, in a former age, tried the Bodhisattva, by producing a hawk in pursuit of a dove, when the Bodhisattva cut off a piece of his own flesh, and with it ransomed the dove. After Buddha had attained to perfect wisdom, and in travelling about with his disciples arrived at this spot, he informed them that this was the place where he ransomed the dove with a piece of his own flesh. In this way the people of the country became aware of the fact, and on the spot reared a tope, adorned with layers of gold and silver plates.
[Footnote 1: Sakra is a common name for the Brahmanic Indra, adopted by Buddhism into the circle of its own great adherents;—it has been said, "because of his popularity." He is now the representative of the secular power, the valiant protector of the Buddhist body, but is looked upon as inferior to Sâkyamuni, and every Buddhist saint.]


~Gandhâra—Legends of Buddha~
The travellers, going downwards from this towards the east, in five days came to the country of Gandhâra, the place where Dharma-vivardhana, the son of Asoka, [1] ruled. When Buddha was a Bodhisattva, he gave his eyes also for another man here; and at the spot they have also reared a large tope, adorned with layers of gold and silver plates. The people of the country were mostly students of the hînayâna.
[Footnote 1: Asoka is here mentioned for the first time—the Constantine of the Buddhist society, and famous for the number of vihâras and topes which he erected. He was the grandson of Chandragupta, a rude adventurer, who at one time was a refugee in the camp of Alexander the Great; and within about twenty years afterwards drove the Greeks out of India, having defeated Seleucus, the Greek ruler of the Indus provinces. His grandson was converted to Buddhism by the bold and patient demeanor of an Arhat whom he had ordered to be buried alive, and became a most zealous supporter of the new faith.]


~Takshasilâ—Legends—The Four Great Topes~
Seven days' journey from this to the east brought the travellers to the kingdom of Takshasilâ, which means "the severed head" in the language of China. Here, when Buddha was a Bodhisattva, he gave away his head to a man; and from this circumstance the kingdom got its name.
Going on further for two days to the east, they came to the place where the Bodhisattva threw down his body to feed a starving tigress. In these two places also large topes have been built, both adorned with layers of all the precious substances. The kings, ministers, and peoples of the kingdoms around vie with one another in making offerings at them. The trains of those who come to scatter flowers and light lamps at them never cease. The nations of those quarters call those and the other two mentioned before "the four great topes."


~Buddha's Alms-bowl—Death of Hwuy-king~
Going southwards from Gândhâra, the travellers in four days arrived at the kingdom of Purushapura. [1] Formerly, when Buddha was travelling in this country with his disciples, he said to Ânanda, [2] "After my pari-nirvâna, [3] there will be a king named Kanishka, who shall on this spot build a tope."
This Kanishka was afterwards born into the world; and once, when he had gone forth to look about him, Sakra, Ruler of Devas, wishing to excite the idea in his mind, assumed the appearance of a little herd-boy, and was making a tope right in the way of the king, who asked what sort of a thing he was making. The boy said, "I am making a tope for Buddha." The king said, "Very good;" and immediately, right over the boy's tope, he proceeded to rear another, which was more than four hundred cubits high, and adorned with layers of all the precious substances. Of all the topes and temples which the travellers saw in their journeyings, there was not one comparable to this in solemn beauty and majestic grandeur. There is a current saying that this is the finest tope in Jambudvîpa [4]. When the king's tope was completed, the little tope of the boy came out from its side on the south, rather more than three cubits in height.
Buddha's alms-bowl is in this country. Formerly, a king of Yüeh-she raised a large force and invaded this country, wishing to carry the bowl away. Having subdued the kingdom, as he and his captains were sincere believers in the Law of Buddha, and wished to carry off the bowl, they proceeded to present their offerings on a great scale. When they had done so to the Three Precious Ones, he made a large elephant be grandly caparisoned, and placed the bowl upon it. But the elephant knelt down on the ground, and was unable to go forward. Again he caused a four-wheeled wagon to be prepared in which the bowl was put to be conveyed away. Eight elephants were then yoked to it, and dragged it with their united strength; but neither were they able to go forward. The king knew that the time for an association between himself and the bowl had not yet arrived, and was sad and deeply ashamed of himself. Forthwith he built a tope at the place and a monastery, and left a guard to watch the bowl, making all sorts of contributions.
There may be there more than seven hundred monks. When it is near mid-day, they bring out the bowl, and, along with the common people, make their various offerings to it, after which they take their mid-day meal. In the evening, at the time of incense, they bring the bowl out again. It may contain rather more than two pecks, and is of various colors, black predominating, with the seams that show its fourfold composition distinctly marked. Its thickness is about the fifth of an inch, and it has a bright and glossy lustre. When poor people throw into it a few flowers, it becomes immediately full, while some very rich people, wishing to make offering of many flowers, might not stop till they had thrown in hundreds, thousands, and myriads of bushels, and yet would not be able to fill it.[5]
Pâo-yun and Sang-king here merely made their offerings to the alms-bowl, and then resolved to go back. Hwuy-king, Hwuy-tah, and Tâo-ching had gone on before the rest to Nagâra, to make their offerings at the places of Buddha's shadow, tooth, and the flat-bone of his skull. There Hwuy-king fell ill, and Tâo-ching remained to look after him, while Hwuy-tah came alone to Purushapura, and saw the others, and then he with Pâo-yun and Sang-king took their way back to the land of Ts'in. Hwuy-king came to his end in the monastery of Buddha's alms-bowl, and on this Fâ-hien went forward alone towards the place of the flat-bone of Buddha's skull.[6]
[Footnote 1: The modern Peshâwur.]
[Footnote 2: A first cousin of Sâkyamuni, and born at the moment when he attained to Buddhaship. Under Buddha's teaching, Ânanda became an Arhat, and is famous for his strong and accurate memory; and he played an important part at the first council for the formation of the Buddhist canon. The friendship between Sâkyamuni and Ânanda was very close and tender; and it is impossible to read much of what the dying Buddha said to him and of him, as related in the Mahâpari-nirvâna Sûtra, without being moved almost to tears. Ânanda is to reappear on earth as Buddha in another Kalpa.]
[Footnote 3: On his attaining to nirvâna, Sâkyamuni became the Buddha, and had no longer to mourn his being within the circle of transmigration, and could rejoice in an absolute freedom from passion, and a perfect purity. Still he continued to live on for forty-five years, till he attained to pari-nirvâna, and had done with all the life of sense and society, and had no more exercise of thought. He died; but whether he absolutely and entirely ceased to be, in any sense of the word being, it would be difficult to say. Probably he himself would not and could not have spoken definitely on the point. So far as our use of language is concerned, apart from any assured faith in and hope of immortality, his pari-nirvâna was his death.]
[Footnote 4: Jambudvîpa is one of the four great continents of the universe, representing the inhabited world as fancied by the Buddhists, and so-called because it resembles in shape the leaves of the jambu tree.]
[Footnote 5: Compare the narrative in Luke's Gospel, xxi. 1-4.]
[Footnote 6: This story of Hwuy-king's death differs from the account given in chapter xiv.—EDITOR.]


~Festival of Buddha's Skull-bone~
Going west for sixteen yojanas, [1] he came to the city He-lo [2] in the borders of the country of Nagâra, where there is the flat-bone of Buddha's skull, deposited in a vihâra [3] adorned all over with gold-leaf and the seven sacred substances. The king of the country, revering and honoring the bone, and anxious lest it should be stolen away, has selected eight individuals, representing the great families in the kingdom, and committed to each a seal, with which he should seal its shrine and guard the relic. At early dawn these eight men come, and after each has inspected his seal, they open the door. This done, they wash their hands with scented water and bring out the bone, which they place outside the vihâra, on a lofty platform, where it is supported on a round pedestal of the seven precious substances, and covered with a bell of lapis lazuli, both adorned with rows of pearls. Its color is of a yellowish white, and it forms an imperfect circle twelve inches round, curving upwards to the centre. Every day, after it has been brought forth, the keepers of the vihâra ascend a high gallery, where they beat great drums, blow conches, and clash their copper cymbals. When the king hears them, he goes to the vihâra, and makes his offerings of flowers and incense. When he has done this, he and his attendants in order, one after another, raise the bone, place it for a moment on the top of their heads, and then depart, going out by the door on the west as they had entered by that on the east. The king every morning makes his offerings and performs his worship, and afterwards gives audience on the business of his government. The chiefs of the Vaisyas [4] also make their offerings before they attend to their family affairs. Every day it is so, and there is no remissness in the observance of the custom. When all of the offerings are over, they replace the bone in the vihâra, where there is a vimoksha tope, of the seven precious substances, and rather more than five cubits high, sometimes open, sometimes shut, to contain it. In front of the door of the vihâra, there are parties who every morning sell flowers and incense, and those who wish to make offerings buy some of all kinds. The kings of various countries are also constantly sending messengers with offerings. The vihâra stands in a square of thirty paces, and though heaven should shake and earth be rent, this place would not move.
Going on, north from this, for a yojana, Fâ-hien arrived at the capital of Nagâra, the place where the Bodhisattva once purchased with money five stalks of flowers, as an offering to the Dipânkara Buddha. In the midst of the city there is also the tope of Buddha's tooth, where offerings are made in the same way as to the flat-bone of his skull.
A yojana to the northeast of the city brought him to the mouth of a valley, where there is Buddha's pewter staff; and a vihâra also has been built at which offerings are made. The staff is made of Gosirsha Chandana, and is quite sixteen or seventeen cubits long. It is contained in a wooden tube, and though a hundred or a thousand men were to try to lift it, they could not move it.
Entering the mouth of the valley, and going west, he found Buddha's Sanghâli, [5] where also there is reared a vihâra, and offerings are made. It is a custom of the country when there is a great drought, for the people to collect in crowds, bring out the robe, pay worship to it, and make offerings, on which there is immediately a great rain from the sky.
South of the city, half a yojana, there is a rock-cavern, in a great hill fronting the southwest; and here it was that Buddha left his shadow. Looking at it from a distance of more than ten paces, you seem to see Buddha's real form, with his complexion of gold, and his characteristic marks in their nicety, clearly and brightly displayed. The nearer you approach, however, the fainter it becomes, as if it were only in your fancy. When the kings from the regions all around have sent skilful artists to take a copy, none of them have been able to do so. Among the people of the country there is a saying current that "the thousand Buddhas must all leave their shadows here."
Rather more than four hundred paces west from the shadow, when Buddha was at the spot, he shaved off his hair and clipped his nails, and proceeded, along with his disciples, to build a tope seventy or eighty cubits high, to be a model for all future topes; and it is still existing. By the side of it there is a monastery, with more than seven hundred monks in it. At this place there are as many as a thousand topes of Arhans and Pratyeka Buddhas.
[Footnote 1: Now in India, Fâ-hien used the Indian measure of distance; but it is not possible to determine exactly what its length then was. The estimates of it are very different, and vary from four and a half or five miles to seven, and sometimes more.]
[Footnote 2: The present Hidda, west of Peshâwur, and five miles south of Jellalabad.]
[Footnote 3: "The vihara," says Hardy, "is the residence of a recluse or priest;" and so Davids—"the clean little hut where the mendicant lives."]
[Footnote 4: The Vaisyas, or the bourgeois caste of Hindu society, are described here as "resident scholars."]
[Footnote 5: Or Sanghâti, the double or composite robe, part of a monk's attire, reaching from the shoulders to the knees, and fastened round the waist.]


~Crossing the Indus to the East~
Having stayed there till the third month of winter, Fâ-hien and the two others, proceeding southwards, crossed the Little Snowy mountains. On them the snow lies accumulated both winter and summer. On the north side of the mountains, in the shade, they suddenly encountered a cold wind which made them shiver and become unable to speak. Hwuy-king could not go any farther. A white froth came from his mouth, and he said to Fâ-hien, "I cannot live any longer. Do you immediately go away, that we do not all die here"; and with these words he died. Fâ-hien stroked the corpse, and cried out piteously, "Our original plan has failed; it is fate. What can we do?" He then again exerted himself, and they succeeded in crossing to the south of the range, and arrived in the kingdom of Lo-e, [1] where there were nearly three thousand monks, students of both the mahâyâna and hînayâna. Here they stayed for the summer retreat, [2] and when that was over, they went on to the south, and ten days' journey brought them to the kingdom of Poh-nâ, where there are also more than three thousand monks, all students of the hînayâna. Proceeding from this place for three days, they again crossed the Indus, where the country on each side was low and level.
[Footnote 1: Lo-e, or Rohi, or Afghanistan; only a portion of it can be intended.]
[Footnote 2: We are now therefore in A.D. 404.]


~Sympathy of Monks with the Pilgrims~
After they had crossed the river, there was a country named Pe-t'oo, where Buddhism was very flourishing, and the monks studied both the mahâyâna and hînayâna. When they saw their fellow-disciples from Ts'in passing along, they were moved with great pity and sympathy, and expressed themselves thus: "How is it that these men from a border-land should have learned to become monks, and come for the sake of our doctrines from such a distance in search of the Law of Buddha?" They supplied them with what they needed, and treated them in accordance with the rules of the Law.


~Condition and Customs of Central India~
From this place they travelled southeast, passing by a succession of very many monasteries, with a multitude of monks, who might be counted by myriads. After passing all these places, they came to a country named Ma-t'âou-lo. They still followed the course of the P'oo-na river, on the banks of which, left and right, there were twenty monasteries, which might contain three thousand monks; and here the Law of Buddha was still more flourishing. Everywhere, from the Sandy Desert, in all the countries of India, the kings had been firm believers in that Law. When they make their offerings to a community of monks, they take off their royal caps, and along with their relatives and ministers, supply them with food with their own hands. That done, the king has a carpet spread for himself on the ground, and sits down on it in front of the chairman;—they dare not presume to sit on couches in front of the community. The laws and ways, according to which the kings presented their offerings when Buddha was in the world, have been handed down to the present day.
All south from this is named the Middle Kingdom. In it the cold and heat are finely tempered, and there is neither hoarfrost nor snow. The people are numerous and happy; they have not to register their households, or attend to any magistrates and their rules; only those who cultivate the royal land have to pay a portion of the gain from it. If they want to go they go; if they want to stay on, they stay. The king governs without decapitation or other corporal punishments. Criminals are simply fined, lightly or heavily, according to the circumstances of each case. Even in cases of repeated attempts at wicked rebellion, they only have their right hands cut off. The king's body-guards and attendants all have salaries. Throughout the whole country the people do not kill any living creature, nor drink intoxicating liquor, nor eat onions or garlic. The only exception is that of the Chandâlas. That is the name for those who are held to be wicked men, and live apart from others. When they enter the gate of a city or a market-place, they strike a piece of wood to make themselves known, so that men know and avoid them, and do not come into contact with them. In that country they do not keep pigs and fowls, and do not sell live cattle; in the markets there are no butchers' shops and no dealers in intoxicating drink. In buying and selling commodities they use cowries. Only the Chandâlas are fishermen and hunters, and sell flesh meat.
After Buddha attained to pari-nirvâna the kings of the various countries and the heads of the Vaisyas built vihâras for the priests, and endowed them with fields, houses, gardens, and orchards, along with the resident populations and their cattle, the grants being engraved on plates of metal, so that afterwards they were handed down from king to king, without any one daring to annul them, and they remain even to the present time.
The regular business of the monks is to perform acts of meritorious virtue, and to recite their Sûtras and sit wrapped in meditation. When stranger monks arrive at any monastery, the old residents meet and receive them, carry for them their clothes and alms-bowl, give them water to wash their feet, oil with which to anoint them, and the liquid food permitted out of the regular hours. [1] When the stranger has enjoyed a very brief rest, they further ask the number of years that he has been a monk, after which he receives a sleeping apartment with its appurtenances, according to his regular order, and everything is done for him which the rules prescribe.
Where a community of monks resides, they erect topes to Sâriputtra, [2] to Mahâ-maudgalyâyana, [3] and to Ânanda, and also topes in honor of the Abhidharma, [4] the Vinaya, [4] and the Sûtras. [4] A month after the annual season of rest, the families which are looking out for blessing stimulate one another to make offerings to the monks, and send round to them the liquid food which may be taken out of the ordinary hours. All the monks come together in a great assembly, and preach the Law; after which offerings are presented at the tope of Sâriputtra, with all kinds of flowers and incense. All through the night lamps are kept burning, and skilful musicians are employed to perform.
When Sâriputtra was a great Brahman, he went to Buddha, and begged to be permitted to quit his family and become a monk. The great Mugalan and the great Kas'yapa also did the same. The bhikshunis [5] for the most part make their offerings at the tope of Ånanda, because it was he who requested the World-honored one to allow females to quit their families and become nuns. The Srâmaneras [6] mostly make their offerings to Rahula. [7] The professors of the Abhidharma make their offerings to it; those of the Vinaya to it. Every year there is one such offering, and each class has its own day for it. Students of the mahâyâna present offerings to the Prajña-pâramitâ, to Mañjus'ri, and to Kwan-she-yin. When the monks have done receiving their annual tribute from the harvests, the Heads of the Vaisyas and all the Brahmans bring clothes and such other articles as the monks require for use, and distribute among them. The monks, having received them, also proceed to give portions to one another. From the nirvâna of Buddha, the forms of ceremony, laws, and rules, practised by the sacred communities, have been handed down from one generation to another without interruption.
From the place where the travellers crossed the Indus to South India, and on to the Southern Sea, a distance of forty or fifty thousand li, all is level plain. There are no large hills with streams among them; there are simply the waters of the rivers.
[Footnote 1: No monk can eat solid food except between sunrise and noon, and total abstinence from intoxicating drinks is obligatory. Food eaten at any other part of the day is called vikâla, and forbidden; but a weary traveller might receive unseasonable refreshment, consisting of honey, butter, treacle, and sesamum oil.]
[Footnote 2: Sâriputtra was one of the principal disciples of Buddha, and indeed the most learned and ingenious of them all.]
[Footnote 3: Mugalan, the Singhalese name of this disciple, is more pronounceable. He also was one of the principal disciples, called Buddha's "left-hand attendant." He was distinguished for his power of vision, and his magic powers.]
[Footnote 4: The different parts of the tripitaka.]
[Footnote 5: The bhikshunis are the female monks or nuns, subject to the same rules as the bhikshus, and also to special ordinances of restraint.]
[Footnote 6: The Srâmaneras are the novices, male or female, who have vowed to observe the Shikshâpada, or ten commandments.]
[Footnote 7: The eldest son of Sâkyamuni by Yasodharâ. Converted to Buddhism, he followed his father as an attendant; and after Buddha's death became the founder of a philosophical realistic school (vaibhâshika). He is now revered as the patron saint of all novices, and is to be reborn as the eldest son of every future Buddha.]


~Legend of the Trayastrimsas Heaven~
From this they proceeded southeast for eighteen yojanas, and found themselves in a kingdom called Sankâs'ya, at the place where Buddha came down, after ascending to the Trayastrims'as heaven [1], and there preaching for three months his Law for the benefit of his mother [2]. Buddha had gone up to this heaven by his supernatural power, without letting his disciples know; but seven days before the completion of the three months he laid aside his invisibility, and Anuruddha [3], with his heavenly eyes, saw the World-honored one, and immediately said to the honored one, the great Mugalan, "Do you go and salute the World-honored one," Mugalan forthwith went, and with head and face did homage at Buddha's feet. They then saluted and questioned each other, and when this was over, Buddha said to Mugalan, "Seven days after this I will go down to Jambudvîpa"; and thereupon Mugalan returned. At this time the great kings of eight countries with their ministers and people, not having seen Buddha for a long time, were all thirstily looking up for him, and had collected in clouds in this kingdom to wait for the World-honored one.
Then the bhikshunî Utpala thought in her heart, "To-day the kings, with their ministers and people, will all be meeting and welcoming Buddha. I am but a woman; how shall I succeed in being the first to see him?" Buddha immediately, by his spirit-like power, changed her into the appearance of a holy Chakravartti king, and she was the foremost of all in doing reverence to him.
As Buddha descended from his position aloft in the Trayastrims'as heaven, when he was coming down, there were made to appear three flights of precious steps. Buddha was on the middle flight, the steps of which were composed of the seven precious substances. The king of Brahma-loka [4] also made a flight of silver steps appear on the right side, where he was seen attending with a white chowry in his hand. Sakra, Ruler of Devas, made a flight of steps of purple gold on the left side, where he was seen attending and holding an umbrella of the seven precious substances. An innumerable multitude of the devas followed Buddha in his descent. When he was come down, the three flights all disappeared in the ground, excepting seven steps, which continued to be visible. Afterwards king As'oka, wishing to know where their ends rested, sent men to dig and see. They went down to the yellow springs without reaching the bottom of the steps, and from this the king received an increase to his reverence and faith, and built a vihâra over the steps, with a standing image, sixteen cubits in height, right over the middle flight. Behind the vihâra he erected a stone pillar, about fifty cubits high, with a lion on the top of it. [5] Let into the pillar, on each of its four sides, there is an image of Buddha, inside and out shining and transparent, and pure as it were of lapis lazuli. Some teachers of another doctrine once disputed with the S'ramanas about the right to this as a place of residence, and the latter were having the worst of the argument, when they took an oath on both sides on the condition that, if the place did indeed belong to the S'ramanas, there should be some marvellous attestation of it. When these words had been spoken, the lion on the top gave a great roar, thus giving the proof; on which their opponents were frightened, bowed to the decision, and withdrew.
Through Buddha having for three months partaken of the food of heaven, his body emitted a heavenly fragrance, unlike that of an ordinary man. He went immediately and bathed; and afterwards, at the spot where he did so, a bathing-house was built, which is still existing. At the place where the bhikshuni Utpala was the first to do reverence to Buddha, a tope has now been built.
At the places where Buddha, when he was in the world, cut his hair and nails, topes are erected; and where the three Buddhas [6] that preceded S'âkyamuni Buddha and he himself sat; where they walked, and where images of their persons were made. At all these places topes were made, and are still existing. At the place where S'akra, Ruler of the Devas, and the king of the Brahma-loka followed Buddha down from the Trayastrimsas heaven they have also raised a tope.
At this place the monks and nuns may be a thousand, who all receive their food from the common store, and pursue their studies, some of the mahayana and some of the hînayâna. Where they live, there is a white-eared dragon, which acts the part of danapati to the community of these monks, causing abundant harvests in the country, and the enriching rains to come in season, without the occurrence of any calamities, so that the monks enjoy their repose and ease. In gratitude for its kindness, they have made for it a dragon-house, with a carpet for it to sit on, and appointed for it a diet of blessing, which they present for its nourishment. Every day they set apart three of their number to go to its house, and eat there. Whenever the summer retreat is ended, the dragon straightway changes its form, and appears as a small snake, with white spots at the side of its ears. As soon as the monks recognize it, they fill a copper vessel with cream, into which they put the creature, and then carry it round from the one who has the highest seat at their tables to him who has the lowest, when it appears as if saluting them. When it has been taken round, immediately it disappears; and every year it thus comes forth once. The country is very productive, and the people are prosperous, and happy beyond comparison. When people of other countries come to it, they are exceedingly attentive to them all, and supply them with what they need.
Fifty yojanas northwest from the monastery there is another, called "The Great Heap." Great Heap was the name of a wicked demon, who was converted by Buddha, and men subsequently at this place reared a vihâra. When it was being made over to an Arhat by pouring water on his hands, some drops fell on the ground. They are still on the spot, and however they may be brushed away and removed, they continue to be visible, and cannot be made to disappear.
At this place there is also a tope to Buddha, where a good spirit constantly keeps all about it swept and watered, without any labor of man being required. A king of corrupt views once said, "Since you are able to do this, I will lead a multitude of troops and reside there till the dirt and filth has increased and accumulated, and see whether you can cleanse it away or not." The spirit thereupon raised a great wind, which blew the filth away, and made the place pure.
At this place there are many small topes, at which a man may keep counting a whole day without being able to know their exact number. If he be firmly bent on knowing it, he will place a man by the side of each tope. When this is done, proceeding to count the number of the men, whether they be many or few, he will not get to know the number. [7]
There is a monastery, containing perhaps six hundred or seven hundred monks, in which there is a place where a Pratyeka Buddha used to take his food. The nirvâna ground where he was burned after death is as large as a carriage wheel; and while grass grows all around, on this spot there is none. The ground also where he dried his clothes produces no grass, but the impression of them, where they lay on it, continues to the present day.
[Footnote 1: The heaven of Indra or Sâkya, meaning "the heaven of thirty-three classes," a name which has been explained both historically and mythologically. "The description of it," says Eitel, "tallies in all respects with the Svarga of Brahmanic mythology. It is situated between the four peaks of the Meru, and consists of thirty-two cities of devas, eight on each of the four corners of the mountain. Indra's capital of Bellevue is in the centre. There he is enthroned, with a thousand heads and a thousand eyes, and four arms grasping the vajra, with his wife and 119,000 concubines. There he receives the monthly reports of the four Mahârâjas, concerning the progress of good and evil in the world," etc., etc.]
[Footnote 2: Buddha's mother, Mâyâ and Mahâ-mâyâ, died seven days after his birth.]
[Footnote 3: Anuruddha was a first cousin of Sâkyamuni, being the son of his uncle Amritodana. He is often mentioned in the account we have of Buddha's last moments. His special gift was the "heavenly eye," the first of the six "supernatural talents," the faculty of comprehending in one instantaneous view, or by intuition, all beings in all worlds.]
[Footnote 4: This was Brahma, the first person of the Brahmanical Trimurti, adopted by Buddhism, but placed in an inferior position, and surpassed by every Buddhist saint who attains to bodhi.]
[Footnote 5: A note of Mr. Beal says on this:—"General Cunningham, who visited the spot (1862), found a pillar, evidently of the age of Asoka, with a well-carved elephant on the top, which, however, was minus trunk and tail. He supposes this to be the pillar seen by Fâ-hien, who mistook the top of it for a lion. It is possible such a mistake may have been made, as in the account of one of the pillars at Srâvasti, Fâ-hien says an ox formed the capital, whilst Hsüan-chwang calls it an elephant."]
[Footnote 6: These three predecessors of Sakya-muni were the three Buddhas of the present or Mahâ-bhadra Kalpa, of which he was the fourth, and Maitreya is to be the fifth and last. They were: (i) Kra-kuchanda, "he who readily solves all doubts"; a scion of the Kasyapa family. Human life reached in his time forty thousand years, and so many persons were converted by him. (2) Kanakamuni, "body radiant with the color of pure gold"; of the same family. Human life reached in his time thirty thousand years, and so many persons were converted by him. (3) Kasyapa, "swallower of light." Human life reached in his time twenty thousand years, and so many persons were converted by him.]
[Footnote 7: This would seem to be absurd; but the writer evidently intended to convey the idea that there was something mysterious about the number of the topes.]


~Buddha's Subjects of Discourse~
Fâ-Hien stayed at the Dragon vihara till after the summer retreat, [1] and then, travelling to the southeast for seven yojanas, he arrived at the city of Kanyakubja, lying along the Ganges. There are two monasteries in it, the inmates of which are students of the hinayâna. At a distance from the city of six or seven li, on the west, on the northern bank of the Ganges, is a place where Buddha preached the Law to his disciples. It has been handed down that his subjects of discourse were such as "The bitterness and vanity of life as impermanent and uncertain," and that "The body is as a bubble or foam on the water." At this spot a tope was erected, and still exists.
Having crossed the Ganges, and gone south for three yojanas, the travellers arrived at a village named A-le, containing places where Buddha preached the Law, where he sat, and where he walked, at all of which topes have been built.
[Footnote 1: This was, probably, in A.D. 405.]


~Legend of Buddha's Danta-kâshtha~
Going on from this to the southeast for three yojanas, they came to the great kingdom of Shâ-che. As you go out of the city of Shâ-che by the southern gate, on the east of the road is the place where Buddha, after he had chewed his willow branch, stuck it in the ground, when it forthwith grew up seven cubits, at which height it remained, neither increasing nor diminishing. The Brahmans, with their contrary doctrines, became angry and jealous. Sometimes they cut the tree down, sometimes they plucked it up, and cast it to a distance, but it grew again on the same spot as at first. Here also is the place where the four Buddhas walked and sat, and at which a tope was built that is still existing.


~The Jetavana Vihâra—Legends of Buddha~
Going on from this to the south, for eight yojanas, the travellers came to the city of Sravasti in the kingdom of Kosala, in which the inhabitants were few and far between, amounting in all only to a few more than two hundred families; the city where king Prasenajit ruled, and the place of the old vihâra of Maha-prajâpati; [1] of the well and walls of the house of the Vaisya head Sudatta; [2] and where the Angulimâlya [3] became an Arhat, and his body was afterwards burned on his attaining to pari-nirvâna. At all these places topes were subsequently erected, which are still existing in the city. The Brahmans, with their contrary doctrine, became full of hatred and envy in their hearts, and wished to destroy them, but there came from the heavens such a storm of crashing thunder and flashing lightning that they were not able in the end to effect their purpose.
As you go out from the city by the south gate, and one thousand two hundred paces from it, the Vais'ya head Sudatta built a vihâra, facing the south; and when the door was open, on each side of it there was a stone pillar, with the figure of a wheel on the top of that on the left, and the figure of an ox on the top of that on the right. On the left and right of the building the ponds of water clear and pure, the thickets of trees always luxuriant, and the numerous flowers of various hues, constituted a lovely scene, the whole forming what is called the Jetavana vihâra.
When Buddha went up to the Trayastrimsas heaven, and preached the Law for the benefit of his mother, after he had been absent for ninety days, Prasenajit, longing to see him, caused an image of him to be carved in Gosirsha Chandana wood, and put in the place where he usually sat. When Buddha, on his return entered the vihara, this image immediately left its place, and came forth to meet him. Buddha said to it, "Return to your seat. After I have attained to pari-nirvâna, you will serve as a pattern to the four classes of my disciples," [4] and on this the image returned to its seat. This was the very first of all the images of Buddha, and that which men subsequently copied. Buddha then removed, and dwelt in a small vihara on the south side of the other, a different place from that containing the image, and twenty paces distant from it.
The Jetavana vihâra was originally of seven stories. The kings and people of the countries around vied with one another in their offerings, hanging up about it silken streamers and canopies, scattering flowers, burning incense, and lighting lamps, so as to make the night as bright as the day. This they did day after day without ceasing. It happened that a rat, carrying in its mouth the wick of a lamp, set one of the streamers or canopies on fire, which caught the vihâra, and the seven stories were all consumed. The kings, with their officers and people, were all very sad and distressed, supposing that the sandalwood image had been burned; but lo! after four or five days, when the door of a small vihâra on the east was opened, there was immediately seen the original image. They were all greatly rejoiced, and cooperated in restoring the vihâra. When they had succeeded in completing two stories, they removed the image back to its former place.
When Fâ-hien and Tâo-ching first arrived at the Jetavana monastery, and thought how the World-honored one had formerly resided there for twenty-five years, painful reflections arose in their minds. Born in a border-land, along with their like-minded friends, they had travelled through so many kingdoms; some of those friends had returned to their own land, and some had died, proving the impermanence and uncertainty of life; and today they saw the place where Buddha had lived now unoccupied by him. They were melancholy through their pain of heart, and the crowd of monks came out, and asked them from what kingdom they were come. "We are come," they replied, "from the land of Han." "Strange," said the monks with a sigh, "that men of a border country should be able to come here in search of our Law!" Then they said to one another, "During all the time that we, preceptors and monks, have succeeded to one another, we have never seen men of Han, followers of our system, arrive here."
Four li to the northwest of the vihâra there is a grove called "The Getting of Eyes." Formerly there were five hundred blind men, who lived here in order that they might be near the vihâra. Buddha preached his Law to them, and they all got their eyesight. Full of joy, they stuck their staves in the earth, and with their heads and faces on the ground, did reverence. The staves immediately began to grow, and they grew to be great. People made much of them, and no one dared to cut them down, so that they came to form a grove. It was in this way that it got its name, and most of the Jetavana monks, after they had taken their mid-day meal, went to the grove, and sat there in meditation.
Six or seven li northeast from the Jetavana, mother Vaisakha built another vihâra, to which she invited Buddha and his monks, and which is still existing.
To each of the great residences for the monks at the Jetavana vihâra there were two gates, one facing the east and the other facing the north. The park containing the whole was the space of ground which the Vaisaya head, Sudatta, purchased by covering it with gold coins. The vihâra was exactly in the centre. Here Buddha lived for a longer time than at any other place, preaching his Law and converting men. At the places where he walked and sat they also subsequently reared topes, each having its particular name; and here was the place where Sundari [5] murdered a person and then falsely charged Buddha with the crime. Outside the east gate of the Jetavana, at a distance of seventy paces to the north, on the west of the road, Buddha held a discussion with the advocates of the ninety-six schemes of erroneous doctrine, when the king and his great officers, the householders, and people were all assembled in crowds to hear it. Then a woman belonging to one of the erroneous systems, by name Chañchamana, prompted by the envious hatred in her heart, and having put on extra clothes in front of her person, so as to give her the appearance of being with child, falsely accused Buddha before all the assembly of having acted unlawfully towards her. On this, Sakra, Ruler of Devas, changed himself and some devas into white mice, which bit through the strings about her waist; and when this was done, the extra clothes which she wore dropped down on the ground. The earth at the same time was rent, and she went down alive into hell. This also is the place where Devadatta, trying with empoisoned claws to injure Buddha, went down alive into hell. Men subsequently set up marks to distinguish where both these events took place.
Further, at the place where the discussion took place, they reared a vihâra rather more than sixty cubits high, having in it an image of Buddha in a sitting posture. On the east of the road there was a devâlaya [6] of one of the contrary systems, called "The Shadow Covered," right opposite the vihâra on the place of discussion, with only the road between them, and also rather more than sixty cubits high. The reason why it was called "The Shadow Covered" was this: When the sun was in the west, the shadow of the vihâra of the World-honored one fell on the devâlaya of a contrary system; but when the sun was in the east, the shadow of that devâlaya was diverted to the north, and never fell on the vihâra of Buddha. The malbelievers regularly employed men to watch their devâlaya, to sweep and water all about it, to burn incense, light the lamps, and present offerings; but in the morning the lamps were found to have been suddenly removed, and in the vihâra of Buddha. The Brahmans were indignant, and said, "Those Sramanas take our lamps and use them for their own service of Buddha, but we will not stop our service for you!" [7] On that night the Brahmans themselves kept watch, when they saw the deva spirits which they served take the lamps and go three times round the vihâra of Buddha and present offerings. After this administration to Buddha they suddenly disappeared. The Brahmans thereupon knowing how great was the spiritual power of Buddha, forthwith left their families, and became monks. It has been handed down, that, near the time when these things occurred, around the Jetavana vihâra there were ninety-eight monasteries, in all of which there were monks residing, excepting only in one place which was vacant. In this Middle Kingdom there are ninety-six sorts of views, erroneous and different from our system, all of which recognize this world and the future world and the connection between them. Each has its multitude of followers, and they all beg their food: only they do not carry the alms-bowl. They also, moreover, seek to acquire the blessing of good deeds on unfrequented ways, setting up on the roadside houses of charity, where rooms, couches, beds, and food and drink are supplied to travellers, and also to monks, coming and going as guests, the only difference being in the time for which those parties remain.
There are also companies of the followers of Devadatta still existing.
They regularly make offerings to the three previous Buddhas, but not to
Sâkyamuni Buddha.
Four li southeast from the city of Srâvastî, a tope has been erected at the place where the World-honored one encountered king Virûdhaha, when he wished to attack the kingdom of Shay-e, and took his stand before him at the side of the road.
[Footnote 1: Explained by "Path of Love," and "Lord of Life." Prajâpati was aunt and nurse of Sâkyamuni, the first woman admitted to the monkhood, and the first superior of the first Buddhistic convent. She is yet to become a Buddha.]
[Footnote 2: Sudatta, meaning "almsgiver," was the original name of Anâtha-pindika, a wealthy householder, or Vaisya head, of Srâvasti, famous for his liberality. Of his old house, only the well and walls remained at the time of Fâ-hien's visit to Srâvasti.]
[Footnote 3: The Angulimâlya were a sect or set of Sivaitic fanatics, who made assassination a religious act. The one of them here mentioned had joined them by the force of circumstances. Being converted by Buddha, he became a monk.]
[Footnote 4: Ârya, meaning "honorable," "venerable," is a title given only to those who have mastered the four spiritual truths:—(i) that "misery" is a necessary condition of all sentient existence; this is duhka: (ii) that the "accumulation" of misery is caused by the passions; this is samudaya: (iii) that the "extinction" of passion is possible; this is nirodha: and (iv) that the "path" leads to the extinction of passion; which is marga. According to their attainment of these truths, the Aryas, or followers of Buddha, are distinguished into four classes—Srotâpannas, Sakridâgamins, Anâgâmins, and Arhats.]
[Footnote 5: Hsüan-chwang does not give the name of this murderer; see in Julien's "Vie et Voyages de Hiouen-thsang "—"a heretical Brahman killed a woman and calumniated Buddha." See also the fuller account in Beal's "Records of Western Countries," where the murder is committed by several Brahmacharins. In this passage Beal makes Sundari to be the name of the murdered person. But the text cannot be so construed.]
[Footnote 6: A devâlaya is a place in which a deva is worshipped—a general name for all Brahmanical temples.]
[Footnote 7: Their speech was somewhat unconnected, but natural enough
in the circumstances. Compare the whole account with the narrative in 1
Samuel v. about the Ark and Dagon, that "twice-battered god of


~The Three Predecessors of Sâkyamuni~
Fifty li to the west of the city brings the traveller to a town named Too-wei, the birthplace of Kâsyapa Buddha. At the place where he and his father met, and at that where he attained to pari-nirvâna, topes were erected. Over the entire relic of the whole body of him, the Kâsyapa Tathâgata, a great tope was also erected.
Going on southeast from the city of Srâvasti for twelve yojanas, the travellers came to a town named Na-pei-keâ, the birthplace of Krakuchanda Buddha. At the place where he and his father met, and at that where he attained to pari-nirvâna, topes were erected. Going north from here less than a yojana, they came to a town which had been the birthplace of Kanakamuni Buddha. At the place where he and his father met, and where he attained to pari-nirvâna, topes were erected.


~Legends of Buddha's Birth~
Less than a yojana to the east from this brought them to the city of Kapilavastu; but in it there was neither king nor people. All was mound and desolation. Of inhabitants there were only some monks and a score or two of families of the common people. At the spot where stood the old palace of king Suddhodana there have been made images of his eldest son and his mother; and at the places where that son appeared mounted on a white elephant when he entered his mother's womb, and where he turned his carriage round on seeing the sick man after he had gone out of the city by the eastern gate, topes have been erected. The places were also pointed out where the rishi Â-e inspected the marks of Buddhaship on the body of the heir-apparent when an infant; where, when he was in company with Nanda and others, on the elephant being struck down and drawn on one side, he tossed it away; [1] where he shot an arrow to the southeast, and it went a distance of thirty li, then entering the ground and making a spring to come forth, which men subsequently fashioned into a well from which travellers might drink; where, after he had attained to Wisdom, Buddha returned and saw the king, his father; where five hundred Sâkyas quitted their families and did reverence to Upâli [2] while the earth shook and moved in six different ways; where Buddha preached his Law to the devas, and the four deva kings and others kept the four doors of the hall, so that even the king, his father, could not enter; where Buddha sat under a nyagrodha tree, which is still standing, with his face to the east, and his aunt Mahâ-prajâpati presented him with a Sanghâli; and where king Vaidûrya slew the seed of Sâkya, and they all in dying became Srotâpannas. [3] A tope was erected at this last place, which is still existing.
Several li northeast from the city was the king's field, where the heir-apparent sat under a tree, and looked at the ploughers.
Fifty li east from the city was a garden, named Lumbinî, where the queen entered the pond and bathed. Having come forth from the pond on the northern bank, after walking twenty paces, she lifted up her hand, laid hold of a branch of a tree, and, with her face to the east, gave birth to the heir-apparent. When he fell to the ground, he immediately walked seven paces. Two dragon-kings appeared and washed his body. At the place where they did so, there was immediately formed a well, and from it, as well as from the above pond, where the queen bathed, the monks even now constantly take the water, and drink it.
There are four places of regular and fixed occurrence in the history of all Buddhas: first, the place where they attained to perfect Wisdom and became Buddha; second, the place where they turned the wheel of the Law; third, the place where they preached the Law, discoursed of righteousness, and discomfited the advocates of erroneous doctrines; and fourth, the place where they came down, after going up to the Trayastrimsas heaven to preach the Law for the benefit of their mothers. Other places in connection with them became remarkable, according to the manifestations which were made at them at particular times.
The country of Kapilavastu is a great scene of empty desolation. The inhabitants are few and far between. On the roads people have to be on their guard against white elephants [4] and lions, and should not travel incautiously.
[Footnote 1: The Lichchhavis of Vaisâlî had sent to the young prince a very fine elephant; but when it was near Kapilavastu, Deva-datta, out of envy, killed it with a blow of his fist. Nanda (not Ânanda, but a half-brother of Siddhartha), coming that way, saw the carcass lying on the road, and pulled it on one side; but the Bodhisattva, seeing it there, took it by the tail, and tossed it over seven fences and ditches, when the force of its fall made a great ditch.]
[Footnote 2: They did this, probably, to show their humility, for Upâli was only a Sûdra by birth, and had been a barber; so from the first did Buddhism assert its superiority to the conditions of rank and caste. Upâli was distinguished by his knowledge of the rules of discipline, and praised on that account by Buddha. He was one of the three leaders of the first synod, and the principal compiler of the original Vinaya books.]
[Footnote 3: The Srotâpannas are the first class of saints, who are not to be reborn in a lower sphere, but attain to nirvàna after having been reborn seven times consecutively as men or devas. The Chinese editions state there were one thousand of the Sãkya seed. The general account is that they were five hundred, all maidens, who refused to take their place in king Vaidurya's harem, and were in consequence taken to a pond, and had their hands and feet cut off. There Buddha came to them, had their wounds dressed, and preached to them the Law. They died in the faith, and were reborn in the region of the four Great Kings. Thence they came back and visited Buddha at Jetavana in the night, and there they obtained the reward of Srotâpanna.]
[Footnote 4: Fâ-hien does not say that he himself saw any of these white elephants, nor does he speak of the lions as of any particular color. We shall find by and by, in a note further on, that, to make them appear more terrible, they are spoken of as "black."]


~Legends of Râma and its Tope~
East from Buddha's birthplace, and at a distance of five yojanas, there is a kingdom called Râma. The king of this country, having obtained one portion of the relics of Buddha's body, returned with it and built over it a tope, named the Râma tope. By the side of it there was a pool, and in the pool a dragon, which constantly kept watch over the tope, and presented offerings at it day and night. When king Asoka came forth into the world, he wished to destroy the eight topes over the relics, and to build instead of them eighty-four thousand topes. [1] After he had thrown down the seven others, he wished next to destroy this tope. But then the dragon showed itself, and took the king into its palace; when he had seen all the things provided for offerings, it said to him, "If you are able with your offerings to exceed these, you can destroy the tope, and take it all away. I will not contend with you." The king, however, knew that such appliances for offerings were not to be had anywhere in the world, and thereupon returned without carrying out his purpose.
Afterwards, the ground all about became overgrown with vegetation, and there was nobody to sprinkle and sweep about the tope; but a herd of elephants came regularly, which brought water with their trunks to water the ground, and various kinds of flowers and incense, which they presented at the tope. Once there came from one of the kingdoms a devotee to worship at the tope. When he encountered the elephants he was greatly alarmed, and screened himself among the trees; but when he saw them go through with the offerings in the most proper manner, the thought filled him with great sadness—that there should be no monastery here, the inmates of which might serve the tope, but the elephants have to do the watering and sweeping. Forthwith he gave up the great prohibitions by which he was bound, and resumed the status of a Srâmanera. With his own hands he cleared away the grass and trees, put the place in good order, and made it pure and clean. By the power of his exhortations, he prevailed on the king of the country to form a residence for monks; and when that was done, he became head of the monastery. At the present day there are monks residing in it. This event is of recent occurrence; but in all the succession from that time till now, there has always been a Srâmanera head of the establishment.
[Footnote 1: The bones of the human body are supposed to consist of 84,000 atoms, and hence the legend of Asoka's wish to build 84,000 topes, one over each atom of Sakyamuni's skeleton.]


~Where Buddha Renounced the World~
East from here four yojanas, there is the place where the heir-apparent sent back Chandaka, with his white horse; and there also a tope was erected.
Four yojanas to the east from this, the travellers came to the Charcoal tope, where there is also a monastery.
Going on twelve yojanas, still to the east, they came to the city of Kusanagara, on the north of which, between two trees, on the bank of the Nairañjanâ river, is the place where the World-honored one, with his head to the north, attained to pan-nirvâna and died. There also are the places where Subhadra, [1] the last of his converts, attained to Wisdom and became an Arhat; where in his coffin of gold they made offerings to the World-honored one for seven days, where the Vajrapâni laid aside his golden club, and where the eight kings divided the relics of the burnt body: at all these places were built topes and monasteries, all of which are now existing.
In the city the inhabitants are few and far between, comprising only the families belonging to the different societies of monks.
Going from this to the southeast for twelve yojanas, they came to the place where the Lichchhavis wished to follow Buddha to the place of his pari-nirvâna, and where, when he would not listen to them and they kept cleaving to him, unwilling to go away, he made to appear a large and deep ditch which they could not cross over, and gave them his alms-bowl, as a pledge of his regard, thus sending them back to their families. There a stone pillar was erected with an account of this event engraved upon it.
[Footnote 1: A Brahman of Benâres, said to have been one hundred and twenty years old, who came to learn from Buddha the very night he died. Ânanda would have repulsed him; but Buddha ordered him to be introduced; and then putting aside the ingenious but unimportant question which he propounded, preached to him the Law. The Brahman was converted and attained at once to Arhatship.]


~The Kingdom of Vaisâlî~
East from this city ten yojanas, the travellers came to the kingdom of Vaisâlî. North of the city so named is a large forest, having in it the double-galleried vihâra where Buddha dwelt, and the tope over half the body of Ânanda. Inside the city the woman Âmbapâlî [1] built a vihâra in honor of Buddha, which is now standing as it was at first. Three li south of the city, on the west of the road, is the garden which the same Âmbapâlî presented to Buddha, in which he might reside. When Buddha was about to attain to his pari-nirvâna, as he was quitting the city by the west gate, he turned round, and, beholding the city on his right, said to them, "Here I have taken my last walk." Men subsequently built a tope at this spot.
Three li northwest of the city there is a tope called, "Bows and weapons laid down." The reason why it got that name was this: The inferior wife of a king, whose country lay along the river Ganges, brought forth from her womb a ball of flesh. The superior wife, jealous of the other, said, "You have brought forth a thing of evil omen," and immediately it was put into a box of wood and thrown into the river. Farther down the stream another king was walking and looking about, when he saw the wooden box floating in the water. He had it brought to him, opened it, and found a thousand little boys, upright and complete, and each one different from the others. He took them and had them brought up. They grew tall and large, and very daring and strong, crushing all opposition in every expedition which they undertook. By and by they attacked the kingdom of their real father, who became in consequence greatly distressed and sad. His inferior wife asked what it was that made him so, and he replied, "That king has a thousand sons, daring and strong beyond compare, and he wishes with them to attack my kingdom; this is what makes me sad." The wife said, "You need not be sad and sorrowful. Only make a high gallery on the wall of the city on the east; and when the thieves come, I shall be able to make them retire." The king did as she said; and when the enemies came, she said to them from the tower, "You are my sons; why are you acting so unnaturally and rebelliously?" They replied, "Who are you that say you are our mother?" "If you do not believe me," she said, "look, all of you, towards me, and open your mouths." She then pressed her breasts with her two hands, and each sent forth five hundred jets of milk, which fell into the mouths of the thousand sons. The thieves thus knew that she was their mother, and laid down their bows and weapons. The two kings, the fathers, hereupon fell into reflection, and both got to be Pratyeka Buddhas. The tope of the two Pratyeka Buddhas is still existing.
In a subsequent age, when the World-honored one had attained to perfect Wisdom and become Buddha, he said to his disciples, "This is the place where I in a former age laid down my bow and weapons." [2] It was thus that subsequently men got to know the fact, and raised the tope on this spot, which in this way received its name. The thousand little boys were the thousand Buddhas of this Bhadra-kalpa. [3]
It was by the side of the "Weapons-laid-down" tope that Buddha, having given up the idea of living longer, said to Ânanda, "In three months from this I will attain to pari-nirvâna"; and king Mâra [4] had so fascinated and stupefied Ânanda, that he was not able to ask Buddha to remain longer in this world.
Three or four li east from this place there is a tope commemorating the following occurrence: A hundred years after the pari-nirvâna of Buddha, some Bhikshus of Vaisâlî went wrong in the matter of the disciplinary rules in ten particulars, and appealed for their justification to what they said were the words of Buddha. Hereupon the Arhats and Bhikshus observant of the rules, to the number in all of seven hundred monks, examined afresh and collated the collection of disciplinary books [5]. Subsequently men built at this place the tope in question, which is still existing.
[Footnote 1: Âmbapâlî, Âmrapâlî, or Âmradarikâ, "the guardian of the Âmra (probably the mango) tree," is famous in Buddhist annals. She was a courtesan. She had been in many nârakas or hells, was one hundred thousand times a female beggar, and ten thousand times a prostitute; but maintaining perfect continence during the period of Kâsyana Buddha, Sakyamuni's predecessor, she had been born a devî, and finally appeared in earth under an Âmra tree in Vaisâlî. There again she fell into her old ways, and had a son by king Bimbisâra; but she was won over by Buddha to virtue and chastity, renounced the world, and attained to the state of an Arhat.]
[Footnote 2: Thus Sâkyamuni had been one of the thousand little boys who floated in the box in the Ganges. How long back the former age was we cannot tell. I suppose the tope of the two fathers who became Pratyeka Buddhas had been built like the one commemorating the laying down of weapons after Buddha had told his disciples of the strange events in the past.]
[Footnote 3: Bhadra-kalpa, "the Kalpa of worthies or sages." "This," says Eitel, "is a designation for a Kalpa of stability, so-called because one thousand Buddhas appear in the course of it. Our present period is a Bhadra-kalpa, and four Buddhas have already appeared. It is to last two hundred and thirty-six millions of years, but over one hundred and fifty-one millions have already elapsed."]
[Footnote 4: "The king of demons." The name Mara is explained by "the murderer," "the destroyer of virtue," and similar appellations. "He is," says Eitel, "the personification of lust, the god of love, sin, and death, the arch-enemy of goodness, residing in the heaven Paranirmita Vasavartin on the top of the Kamadhatu. He assumes different forms, especially monstrous ones, to tempt or frighten the saints, or sends his daughters, or inspires wicked men like Devadatta or the Nirgranthas to do his work. He is often represented with 100 arms, and riding on an elephant."]
[Footnote 5: Or the Vinaya-pitaka. The meeting referred to was an important one, and is generally spoken of as the second Great Council of the Buddhist Church. The first Council was that held at Râjagriha, shortly after Buddha's death, under the presidency of Kâsyapa—say about B.C. 410. The second was that spoken of here—say about B.C. 300.]


~Remarkable Death of Ânanda~
Four yojanas on from this place to the east brought the travellers to the confluence of the five rivers. When Ânanda was going from Magadha to Vaisâlî, wishing his pari-nirvâna to take place there, the devas informed king Ajâtasatru [1] of it, and the king immediately pursued him, in his own grand carriage, with a body of soldiers, and had reached the river. On the other hand, the Lichchhavis of Vaisâlî had heard that Ânanda was coming to their city, and they on their part came to meet him. In this way, they all arrived together at the river, and Ânanda considered that, if he went forward, king Ajâtasatru would be very angry, while, if he went back, the Lichchhavis would resent his conduct. He thereupon in the very middle of the river burnt his body in a fiery ecstasy of Samâdhi [2], and his pari-nirvâna was attained. He divided his body into two parts, leaving one part on each bank; so that each of the two kings got one part as a sacred relic, and took it back to his own capital, and there raised a tope over it.
[Footnote 1: He was the son of king Bimbisâra, who was one of the first royal converts to Buddhism. Ajasat murdered his father, or at least wrought his death; and was at first opposed to Sakyamuni, and a favorer of Devadotta. When converted, he became famous for his liberality in almsgiving.]
[Footnote 2: "Samâdhi," says Eitel, "signifies the highest pitch of abstract, ecstatic meditation; a state of absolute indifference to all influences from within or without; a state of torpor of both the material and spiritual forces of vitality; a sort of terrestrial Nirvâna, consistently culminating in total destruction of life."]


~King Asoka's Spirit-built Palace and Halls~
Having crossed the river, and descended south for a yojana, the travellers came to the town of Pâtaliputtra [1], in the kingdom of Magadha, the city where king Asoka ruled. The royal palace and halls in the midst of the city, which exist now as of old, were all made by spirits which he employed, and which piled up the stones, reared the walls and gates, and executed the elegant carving and inlaid sculpture-work—in a way which no human hands of this world could accomplish.
King Asoka had a younger brother who had attained to be an Arhat, and resided on Gridhra-kûta hill, finding his delight in solitude and quiet. The king, who sincerely reverenced him, wished and begged him to come and live in his family, where he could supply all his wants. The other, however, through his delight in the stillness of the mountain, was unwilling to accept the invitation, on which the king said to him, "Only accept my invitation, and I will make a hill for you inside the city." Accordingly, he provided the materials of a feast, called to him the spirits, and announced to them, "Tomorrow you will all receive my invitation; but as there are no mats for you to sit on, let each one bring his own seat." Next day the spirits came, each one bringing with him a great rock, like a wall, four or five paces square, for a seat. When their sitting was over, the king made them form a hill with the large stones piled on one another, and also at the foot of the hill, with five large square stones, to make an apartment, which might be more than thirty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and more than ten cubits high.
In this city there had resided a great Brahman, named Râdha-sâmi, a professor of the mahâyâna, of clear discernment and much wisdom, who understood everything, living by himself in spotless purity. The king of the country honored and reverenced him, and served him as his teacher. If he went to inquire for and greet him, the king did not presume to sit down alongside of him; and if, in his love and reverence, he took hold of his hand, as soon as he let it go, the Brahman made haste to pour water on it and wash it. He might be more than fifty years old, and all the kingdom looked up to him. By means of this one man, the Law of Buddha was widely made-known, and the followers of other doctrines did not find it in their power to persecute the body of monks in any way.
By the side of the tope of Asoka, there has been made a mahâyâna monastery, very grand and beautiful; there is also a hînayâna one; the two together containing six hundred or seven hundred monks. The rules of demeanor and the scholastic arrangements in them are worthy of observation.
Shamans of the highest virtue from all quarters, and students, inquirers wishing to find out truth and the grounds of it, all resort to these monasteries. There also resides in this monastery a Brahman teacher, whose name also is Mañjusrî, whom the Shamans of greatest virtue in the kingdom, and the mahâyâna Bhikshus honor and look up to.
The cities and towns of this country are the greatest of all in the Middle Kingdom. The inhabitants are rich and prosperous, and vie with one another in the practice of benevolence and righteousness. Every year on the eighth day of the second month they celebrate a procession of images. They make a four-wheeled car, and on it erect a structure of five stories by means of bamboos tied together. This is supported by a king-post, with poles and lances slanting from it, and is rather more than twenty cubits high, having the shape of a tope. White and silk-like cloth of hair is wrapped all round it, which is then painted in various colors. They make figures of devas, with gold, silver, and lapis lazuli grandly blended and having silken streamers and canopies hung out over them. On the four sides are niches, with a Buddha seated in each, and a Bodhisattva standing in attendance on him. There may be twenty cars, all grand and imposing, but each one different from the others. On the day mentioned, the monks and laity within the borders all come together; they have singers and skilful musicians: they say their devotions with flowers and incense. The Brahmans come and invite the Buddhas to enter the city. These do so in order, and remain two nights in it. All through the night they keep lamps burning, have skilful music, and present offerings. This is the practice in all the other kingdoms as well. The Heads of the Vaisya families in them establish in the cities houses for dispensing charity and medicines. All the poor and destitute in the country, orphans, widowers, and childless men, maimed people and cripples, and all who are diseased, go to those houses, and are provided with every kind of help, and doctors examine their diseases. They get the food and medicines which their cases require, and are made to feel at ease; and when they are better, they go away of themselves.
When king Asoka destroyed the seven topes, intending to make eighty-four thousand, the first which he made was the great tope, more than three li to the south of this city. In front of this there is a footprint of Buddha, where a vihara has been built. The door of it faces the north, and on the south of it there is a stone pillar, fourteen or fifteen cubits in circumference, and more than thirty cubits high, on which there is an inscription, saying, "Asoka gave the Jambudvipa to the general body of all the monks, and then redeemed it from them with money. This he did three times." North from the tope three hundred or four hundred paces, king Asoka built the city of Ne-le. In it there is a stone pillar, which also is more than thirty feet high, with a lion on the top of it. On the pillar there is an inscription recording the things which led to the building of Ne-le, with the number of the year, the day, and the month.
[Footnote 1: The modern Patna. The Sanscrit name means "The city of flowers." It is the Indian Florence.]


~Râjagriha, New and Old—Legends Connected with It~
The travellers went on from this to the southeast for nine yojanas, and came to a small solitary rocky hill, at the head or end of which was an apartment of stone, facing the south—the place where Buddha sat, when Sakra, Ruler of Devas, brought the deva-musician, Pañchasikha, to give pleasure to him by playing on his lute. Sakra then asked Buddha about forty-two subjects, tracing the questions out with his finger one by one on the rock. The prints of his tracing are still there; and here also there is a monastery.
A yojana southwest from this place brought them to the village of Nâla, where Sâriputtra was born, and to which also he returned, and attained here his pari-nirvâna. Over the spot where his body was burned there was built a tope, which is still in existence.
Another yojana to the west brought them to New Râjagriha—the new city which was built by king Ajâtasatru. There were two monasteries in it. Three hundred paces outside the west gate, king Ajâtasatru, having obtained one portion of the relics of Buddha, built over them a tope, high, large, grand, and beautiful. Leaving the city by the south gate, and proceeding south four li, one enters a valley, and comes to a circular space formed by five hills, which stand all round it, and have the appearance of the suburban wall of a city. Here was the old city of king Bimbisâra; from east to west about five or six li, and from north to south seven or eight. It was here that Sâriputtra and Maudgalyâyana first saw Upasena [1]; that the Nirgrantha made a pit of fire and poisoned the rice, and then invited Buddha to eat with him; that king Ajâtasatru made a black elephant intoxicated with liquor, wishing him to injure Buddha; and that at the northeast corner of the city in a large curving space Jîvaka built a vihâra in the garden of Âmbapâlî, and invited Buddha with his one thousand two hundred and fifty disciples to it, that he might there make his offerings to support them. These places are still there as of old, but inside the city all is emptiness and desolation; no man dwells in it.
[Footnote 1: One of the five first followers of Sakyamuni. He is also called Asvajit; in Pali Assaji; but Asvajit seems to be a military title, "Master or trainer of horses." The two more famous disciples met him, not to lead him, but to be directed by him, to Buddha.]


~Fâ-Hien Passes a Night on Gridhra-kûta Hill~
Entering the valley, and keeping along the mountains on the southeast, after ascending fifteen li, the travellers came to mount Gridhra-kûta. Three li before you reach the top, there is a cavern in the rocks, facing the south, in which Buddha sat in meditation. Thirty paces to the northwest there is another, where Ânanda was sitting in meditation, when the deva Mâra Pisuna, having assumed the form of a large vulture, took his place in front of the cavern, and frightened the disciple. Then Buddha, by his mysterious, supernatural power, made a cleft in the rock, introduced his hand, and stroked Ânanda's shoulder, so that his fear immediately passed away. The footprints of the bird and the cleft for Buddha's hand are still there, and hence comes the name of "The Hill of the Vulture Cavern."
In front of the cavern there are the places where the four Buddhas sat. There are caverns also of the Arhats, one where each sat and meditated, amounting to several hundred in all. At the place where in front of his rocky apartment Buddha was walking from east to west in meditation, and Devadatta, from among the beetling cliffs on the north of the mountain, threw a rock across, and hurt Buddha's toes, the rock is still there.
The hall where Buddha preached his Law has been destroyed, and only the foundations of the brick walls remain. On this hill the peak is beautifully green, and rises grandly up; it is the highest of all the five hills. In the New City Fâ-hien bought incense-sticks, flowers, oil and lamps, and hired two bhikshus, long resident at the place, to carry them to the peak. When he himself got to it, he made his offerings with the flowers and incense, and lighted the lamps when the darkness began to come on. He felt melancholy, but restrained his tears and said, "Here Buddha delivered the Sûrângama Sûtra. I, Fâ-hien, was born when I could not meet with Buddha; and now I only see the footprints which he has left, and the place where he lived, and nothing more." With this, in front of the rock cavern, he chanted the Sûrângama Sûtra, remained there over the night, and then returned towards the New City.


~Srataparna Cave, or Cave of the First Council~
Out from the old city, after walking over three hundred paces, on the west of the road, the travellers found the Karanda Bamboo garden, where the old vihâra is still in existence, with a company of monks, who keep the ground about it swept and watered.
North of the vihâra two or three li there was the Smasânam, which name means in Chinese "the field of graves into which the dead are thrown."
As they kept along the mountain on the south, and went west for three hundred paces, they found a dwelling among the rocks, named the Pippala cave, in which Buddha regularly sat in meditation after taking his mid-day meal.
Going on still to the west for five or six li, on the north of the hill, in the shade, they found the cavern called Srataparna, [1] the place where, after the nirvâna of Buddha, five hundred Arhats collected the Sûtras. When they brought the Sûtras forth, three lofty seats had been prepared and grandly ornamented. Sâriputtra occupied the one on the left, and Maudgalyâyana that on the right. Of the number of five hundred one was wanting. Mahâkasyapa was president on the middle seat. Ânanda was then outside the door, and could not get in. At the place there was subsequently raised a tope, which is still existing.
Along the sides of the hill, there are also a very great many cells among the rocks, where the various Arhans sat and meditated. As you leave the old city on the north, and go down east for three li, there is the rock dwelling of Devadatta, and at a distance of fifty paces from it there is a large, square, black rock. Formerly there was a bhikshu, who, as he walked backwards and forwards upon it, thought with himself:—"This body is impermanent, a thing of bitterness and vanity, and which cannot be looked on as pure. I am weary of this body, and troubled by it as an evil." With this he grasped a knife, and was about to kill himself. But he thought again:—"The World-honored one laid down a prohibition against one's killing himself." [2] Further it occurred to him:—"Yes, he did; but I now only wish to kill three poisonous thieves." Immediately with the knife he cut his throat. With the first gash into the flesh he attained the state of a Srotâpanna; when he had gone half through, he attained to be an Anâgâmin; and when he had cut right through, he was an Arhat, and attained to pari-nirvâna, and died.
[Footnote 1: A very great place in the annals of Buddhism. The Council in the Srataparna cave did not come together fortuitously, but appears to have been convoked by the older members to settle the rules and doctrines of the order. The cave was prepared for the occasion by king Ajâtasatru.]
[Footnote 2: Buddha made a law forbidding the monks to commit suicide. He prohibited any one from discoursing on the miseries of life in such a manner as to cause desperation.]


~Sâkyamuni's Attaining to the Buddhaship~
From this place, after travelling to the west for four yojanas, the pilgrims came to the city of Gayâ; but inside the city all was emptiness and desolation. Going on again to the south for twenty li, they arrived at the place where the Bodhisattva for six years practised with himself painful austerities. All around was forest.
Three li west from here they came to the place where, when Buddha had gone into the water to bathe, a deva bent down the branch of a tree, by means of which he succeeded in getting out of the pool.
Two li north from this was the place where the Grâmika girls presented to Buddha the rice-gruel made with milk; and two li north from this was the place where, seated on a rock under a great tree, and facing the east, he ate the gruel. The tree and the rock are there at the present day. The rock may be six cubits in breadth and length, and rather more than two cubits in height. In Central India the cold and heat are so equally tempered that trees live for several thousand and even for ten thousand years.
Half a yojana from this place to the northeast there was a cavern in the rocks, into which the Bodhisattva entered, and sat cross-legged with his face to the west. As he did so, he said to himself, "If I am to attain to perfect wisdom and become Buddha, let there be a supernatural attestation of it." On the wall of the rock there appeared immediately the shadow of a Buddha, rather more than three feet in length, which is still bright at the present day. At this moment heaven and earth were greatly moved, and devas in the air spoke plainly, "This is not the place where any Buddha of the past, or he that is to come, has attained, or will attain, to perfect Wisdom. Less than half a yojana from this to the southwest will bring you to the patra tree, where all past Buddhas have attained, and all to come must attain, to perfect Wisdom." When they had spoken these words, they immediately led the way forward to the place, singing as they did so. As they thus went away, the Bodhisattva arose and walked after them. At a distance of thirty paces from the tree, a deva gave him the grass of lucky omen, which he received and went on. After he had proceeded fifteen paces, five hundred green birds came flying towards him, went round him thrice, and disappeared. The Bodhisattva went forward to the patra tree, placed the kusa grass at the foot of it, and sat down with his face to the east. Then king Mâra sent three beautiful young ladies, who came from the north, to tempt him, while he himself came from the south to do the same. The Bodhisattva put his toes down on the ground, and the demon soldiers retired and dispersed, and the three young ladies were changed into old grandmothers.
At the place mentioned above of the six years' painful austerities, and at all these other places, men subsequently reared topes and set up images, which all exist at the present day.
Where Buddha, after attaining to perfect Wisdom, for seven days contemplated the tree, and experienced the joy of vimukti; where, under the patra tree, he walked to and fro from west to east for seven days; where the devas made a hall appear, composed of the seven precious substances, and presented offerings to him for seven days; where the blind dragon Muchilinda [1] encircled him for seven days; where he sat under the nyagrodha tree, on a square rock, with his face to the east, and Brahma-deva came and made his request to him; where the four deva kings brought to him their alms-bowls; where the five hundred merchants presented to him the roasted flour and honey; and where he converted the brothers Kasyapa and their thousand disciples;—at all these places topes were reared.
At the place where Buddha attained to perfect Wisdom, there are three monasteries, in all of which there are monks residing. The families of their people around supply the societies of these monks with an abundant sufficiency of what they require, so that there is no lack or stint. The disciplinary rules are strictly observed by them. The laws regulating their demeanor in sitting, rising, and entering when the others are assembled, are those which have been practised by all the saints since Buddha was in the world down to the present day. The places of the four great topes have been fixed, and handed down without break, since Buddha attained to nirvâna. Those four great topes are those at the places where Buddha was born; where he attained to Wisdom; where he began to move the wheel of his Law; and where he attained to pari-nirvâna.
[Footnote 1: Called also Maha, or the Great Muchilinda. Eitel says: "A naga king, the tutelary deity of a lake near which Sakyamuni once sat for seven days absorbed in meditation, whilst the king guarded him." The account in "The Life of the Buddha" is:—"Buddha went to where lived the naga king Muchilinda, and he, wishing to preserve him from the sun and rain, wrapped his body seven times round him, and spread out his hood over his head; and there he remained seven days in thought."]


~Legend of King Asoka in a Former Birth~
When king Asoka, in a former birth, was a little boy and playing on the road, he met Kasyapa Buddha walking. The stranger begged food, and the boy pleasantly took a handful of earth and gave it to him. The Buddha took the earth, and returned it to the ground on which he was walking; but because of this the boy received the recompense of becoming a king of the iron wheel, to rule over Jambudvîpa. Once when he was making a judicial tour of inspection through Jambudvîpa, he saw, between the iron circuit of the two hills, a naraka for the punishment of wicked men. Having thereupon asked his ministers what sort of a thing it was, they replied, "It belongs to Yama, [1] king of demons, for punishing wicked people." The king thought within himself:—"Even the king of demons is able to make a naraka in which to deal with wicked men; why should not I, who am the lord of men, make a naraka in which to deal with wicked men?" He forthwith asked his ministers who could make for him a naraka and preside over the punishment of wicked people in it. They replied that it was only a man of extreme wickedness who could make it; and the king thereupon sent officers to seek everywhere for such a bad man; and they saw by the side of a pond a man tall and strong, with a black countenance, yellow hair, and green eyes, hooking up the fish with his feet, while he called to him birds and beasts, and, when they came, then shot and killed them, so that not one escaped. Having got this man, they took him to the king, who secretly charged him, "You must make a square enclosure with high walls. Plant in it all kinds of flowers and fruits; make good ponds in it for bathing; make it grand and imposing in every way, so that men shall look to it with thirsting desire; make its gates strong and sure; and when any one enters, instantly seize him and punish him as a sinner, not allowing him to get out. Even if I should enter, punish me as a sinner in the same way, and do not let me go. I now appoint you master of that naraka."
Soon after this a bhikshu, pursuing his regular course of begging his food, entered the gate of the place. When the lictors of the naraka saw him, they were about to subject him to their tortures; but he, frightened, begged them to allow him a moment in which to eat his mid-day meal. Immediately after, there came in another man, whom they thrust into a mortar and pounded till a red froth overflowed. As the bhikshu looked on, there came to him the thought of the impermanence, the painful suffering and inanity of this body, and how it is but as a bubble and as foam; and instantly he attained to Arhatship. Immediately after, the lictors seized him, and threw him into a caldron of boiling water. There was a look of joyful satisfaction, however, in the bhikshu's countenance. The fire was extinguished, and the water became cold. In the middle of the caldron there rose up a lotus flower, with the bhikshu seated on it. The lictors at once went and reported to the king that there was a marvellous occurrence in the naraka, and wished him to go and see it; but the king said, "I formerly made such an agreement that now I dare not go to the place." The lictors said, "This is not a small matter. Your Majesty ought to go quickly. Let your former agreement be altered." The king thereupon followed them, and entered the naraka, when the bhikshu preached the Law to him, and he believed, and was made free. Forthwith he demolished the naraka, and repented of all the evil which he had formerly done. From this time he believed in and honored the Three Precious Ones, and constantly went to a patra tree, repenting under it, with self-reproach, of his errors, and accepting the eight rules of abstinence.
The queen asked where the king was constantly going to, and the ministers replied that he was constantly to be seen under such and such a patra tree. She watched for a time when the king was not there, and then sent men to cut the tree down. When the king came, and saw what had been done, he swooned away with sorrow, and fell to the ground. His ministers sprinkled water on his face, and after a considerable time he revived. He then built all round the stump with bricks, and poured a hundred pitchers of cows' milk on the roots; and as he lay with his four limbs spread out on the ground, he took this oath, "If the tree do not live, I will never rise from this." When he had uttered this oath, the tree immediately began to grow from the roots, and it has continued to grow till now, when it is nearly one hundred cubits in height.
[Footnote 1: Yama was originally the Âryan god of the dead, living in a heaven above the world, the regent of the south; but Brahmanism transferred his abode to hell. Both views have been retained by Buddhism. The Yama of the text is the "regent of the narakas, residing south of Jambudvîpa, outside the Chakravâlas (the double circuit of mountains above), in a palace built of brass and iron. He has a sister who controls all the female culprits, as he exclusively deals with the male sex. Three times, however, in every twenty-four hours, a demon pours boiling copper into Yama's mouth, and squeezes it down his throat, causing him unspeakable pain." Such, however, is the wonderful "transrotation of births," that when Yama's sins have been expiated, he is to be reborn as Buddha, under the name of "The Universal King."]


~Kasyapa Buddha's Skeleton on Mount Gurupada~
The travellers, going on from this three li to the south, came to a mountain named Gurupada, inside which Mahâkasyapa even now is. He made a cleft, and went down into it, though the place where he entered would not now admit a man. Having gone down very far, there was a hole on one side, and there the complete body of Kasyapa still abides. Outside the hole at which he entered is the earth with which he had washed his hands. If the people living thereabouts have a sore on their heads, they plaster on it some of the earth from this, and feel immediately easier. On this mountain, now as of old, there are Arhats abiding. Devotees of our Law from the various countries in that quarter go year by year to the mountain, and present offerings to Kasyapa; and to those whose hearts are strong in faith there come Arhats at night, and talk with them, discussing and explaining their doubts, and disappearing suddenly afterwards.
On this hill hazels grow luxuriantly; and there are many lions, tigers, and wolves, so that people should not travel incautiously.


~On the Way Returning to Patna~
Fâ-Hien returned from here towards Pâtaliputtra, keeping along the course of the Ganges and descending in the direction of the west. After going ten yojanas he found a vihâra, named "The Wilderness"—a place where Buddha had dwelt, and where there are monks now.
Pursuing the same course, and going still to the west, he arrived, after twelve yojanas, at the city of Vârânasî in the kingdom of Kâsî. Rather more than ten li to the northeast of the city, he found the vihâra in the park of "The rishi's Deer-wild." [1] In this park there formerly resided a Pratyeka Buddha, with whom the deer were regularly in the habit of stopping for the night. When the World-honored one was about to attain to perfect Wisdom, the devas sang in the sky, "The son of king Suddhodana, having quitted his family and studied the Path of Wisdom, will now in seven days become Buddha." The Pratyeka Buddha heard their words, and immediately attained to nirvâna; and hence this place was named "The Park of the rishi's Deer-wild." After the World-honored one had attained to perfect Wisdom, men built the vihâra in it.
Buddha wished to convert Kaundinya and his four companions; but they, being aware of his intention, said to one another, "This Sramana Gotama [2] for six years continued in the practice of painful austerities, eating daily only a single hemp-seed, and one grain of rice, without attaining to the Path of Wisdom; how much less will he do so now that he has entered again among men, and is giving the reins to the indulgence of his body, his speech, and his thoughts! What has he to do with the Path of Wisdom? To-day, when he comes to us, let us be on our guard not to speak with him." At the places where the five men all rose up, and respectfully saluted Buddha, when he came to them; where, sixty paces north from this, he sat with his face to the east, and first turned the wheel of the Law, converting Kaundinya and the four others; where, twenty paces further to the north, he delivered his prophecy concerning Maitreya; and where, at a distance of fifty paces to the south, the dragon Elâpattra asked him, "When shall I get free from this nâga body?"—at all these places topes were reared, and are still existing. In the park there are two monasteries, in both of which there are monks residing.
When you go northwest from the vihâra of the Deer-wild park for thirteen yojanas, there is a kingdom named Kausâmbi. Its vihâra is named Ghochiravana—a place where Buddha formerly resided. Now, as of old, there is a company of monks there, most of whom are students of the hînayâna.
East from this, when you have travelled eight yojanas, is the place where Buddha converted the evil demon. There, and where he walked in meditation and sat at the place which was his regular abode, there have been topes erected. There is also a monastery, which may contain more than a hundred monks.
[Footnote 1: "The rishi," says Eitel, "is a man whose bodily frame has undergone a certain transformation by dint of meditation and asceticism, so that he is, for an indefinite period, exempt from decrepitude, age, and death. As this period is believed to extend far beyond the usual duration of human life, such persons are called, and popularly believed to be, immortals." Rishis are divided into various classes; and rishi-ism is spoken of as a seventh path of transrotation, and rishis are referred to as the seventh class of sentient beings.]
[Footnote 2: This is the only instance in Fâ-hien's text where the Bodhisattva or Buddha is called by the surname "Gotama." For the most part our traveller uses Buddha as a proper name, though it properly means "The Enlightened." He uses also the combinations "Sâkya Buddha," which means "The Buddha of the Sâkya tribe," and "Sâkyamuni," which means "The Sâkya sage." This last is the most common designation of the Buddha in China. Among other Buddhistic peoples "Gotama" and "Gotama Buddha" are the more frequent designations.]


~Dakshina, and the Pigeon Monastery~
South from this two hundred yojanas, there is a country named Dakshina, where there is a monastery dedicated to the by-gone Kasyapa Buddha, and which has been hewn out from a large hill of rock. It consists in all of five stories;—the lowest, having the form of an elephant, with five hundred apartments in the rock; the second, having the form of a lion, with four hundred apartments; the third, having the form of a horse, with three hundred apartments; the fourth, having the form of an ox, with two hundred apartments; and the fifth, having the form of a pigeon, with one hundred apartments. At the very top there is a spring, the water of which, always in front of the apartments in the rock, goes round among the rooms, now circling, now curving, till in this way it arrives at the lowest story, having followed the shape of the structure, and flows out there at the door. Everywhere in the apartments of the monks, the rock has been pierced so as to form windows for the admission of light, so that they are all bright, without any being left in darkness. At the four corners of the tiers of apartments, the rock has been hewn so as to form steps for ascending to the top of each. The men of the present day, being of small size, and going up step by step, manage to get to the top; but in a former age they did so at one step. Because of this, the monastery is called Paravata, that being the Indian name for a pigeon. There are always Arhats residing in it.
The country about is a tract of uncultivated hillocks, without inhabitants. At a very long distance from the hill there are villages, where the people all have bad and erroneous views, and do not know the Sramanas of the Law of Buddha, Brahmanas, or devotees of any of the other and different schools. The people of that country are constantly seeing men on the wing, who come and enter this monastery. On one occasion, when devotees of various countries came to perform their worship at it, the people of those villages said to them, "Why do you not fly? The devotees whom we have seen hereabouts all fly"; and the strangers answered, on the spur of the moment, "Our wings are not yet fully formed."
The kingdom of Dakshina is out of the way, and perilous to traverse. There are difficulties in connection with the roads; but those who know how to manage such difficulties and wish to proceed should bring with them money and various articles, and give them to the king. He will then send men to escort them. These will, at different stages, pass them over to others, who will show them the shortest routes. Fâ-hien, however, was after all unable to go there; but having received the above accounts from men of the country, he has narrated them.


~Fâ-Hien's Indian Studies~
From Vârânasî the travellers went back east to Pâtaliputtra. Fâ-hien's original object had been to search for copies of the Vinaya. In the various kingdoms of North India, however, he had found one master transmitting orally the rules to another, but no written copies which he could transcribe. He had therefore travelled far and come on to Central India. Here, in the mahâyâna monastery, he found a copy of the Vinaya, containing the Mahâsânghikâ [1] rules—those which were observed in the first Great Council, while Buddha was still in the world. The original copy was handed down in the Jetavana vihâra. As to the other eighteen schools, each one has the views and decisions of its own masters. Those agree with this in the general meaning, but they have small and trivial differences, as when one opens and another shuts. This copy of the rules, however, is the most complete, with the fullest explanations. [2]
He further got a transcript of the rules in six or seven thousand gâthas, [3] being the sarvâstivâdâh [4] rules—those which are observed by the communities of monks in the land of Ts'in; which also have all been handed down orally from master to master without being committed to writing. In the community here, moreover, he got the Samyuktâbhi-dharma-hridaya-sâstra, containing about six or seven thousand gâthas; he also got a Sûtra of two thousand five hundred gâthas; one chapter of the Pari-nirvâna-vaipulya Sûtra, of about five thousand gâthas; and the Mahâsânghikâ Abhidharma.
In consequence of this success in his quest Fâ-hien stayed here for three years, learning Sanscrit books and the Sanscrit speech, and writing out, the Vinaya rules. When Tâo-ching arrived in the Central Kingdom, and saw the rules observed by the Sramanas, and the dignified demeanor in their societies which he remarked under all occurring circumstances, he sadly called to mind in what a mutilated and imperfect condition the rules were among the monkish communities in the land of Ts'in, and made the following aspiration: "From this time forth till I come to the state of Buddha, let me not be born in a frontier-land." He remained accordingly in India, and did not return to the land of Han. Fâ-hien, however, whose original purpose had been to secure the introduction of the complete Vinaya rules into the land of Han, returned there alone.
[Footnote 1: Mahâsânghikâ simply means "the Great Assembly," that is, of monks.]
[Footnote 2: It was afterwards translated by Fâ-hien into Chinese.]
[Footnote 3: A gâtha is a stanza, generally consisting of a few, commonly of two, lines somewhat metrically arranged.]
[Footnote 4: "A branch," says Eitel, "of the great vaibhâshika school, asserting the reality of all visible phenomena, and claiming the authority of Râhula."]


~Fâ-hien's Stay in Champâ and Tâmaliptî~
Following the course of the Ganges, and descending eastward for eighteen yojanas, he found on the southern bank the great kingdom of Champâ, with topes reared at the places where Buddha walked in meditation by his vihâra, and where he and the three Buddhas, his predecessors, sat. There were monks residing at them all. Continuing his journey east for nearly fifty yojanas, he came to the country of Tâmaliptî, the capital of which is a seaport. In the country there are twenty-two monasteries, at all of which there are monks residing. The Law of Buddha is also flourishing in it. Here Fâ-hien stayed two years, writing out his Sûtras, and drawing pictures of images.
After this he embarked in a large merchant-vessel, and went floating over the sea to the southwest. It was the beginning of winter, and the wind was favorable; and, after fourteen days, sailing day and night, they came to the country of Singhala. The people said that it was distant from Tâmaliptî about seven hundred yojanas.
The kingdom is on a large island, extending from east to west fifty yojanas, and from north to south thirty. Left and right from it there are as many as one hundred small islands, distant from one another ten, twenty, or even two hundred li; but all subject to the large island. Most of them produce pearls and precious stones of various kinds; there is one which produces the pure and brilliant pearl—an island which would form a square of about ten li. The king employs men to watch and protect it, and requires three out of every ten pearls which the collectors find.


~At Ceylon—Feats of Buddha—His Statue in Jade~
The country originally had no human inhabitants, but was occupied only by spirits and nâgas, with which merchants of various countries carried on a trade. When the trafficking was taking place, the spirits did not show themselves. They simply set forth their precious commodities, with labels of the price attached to them; while the merchants made their purchases according to the price; and took the things away.
Through the coming and going of the merchants in this way, when they went away, the people of their various countries heard how pleasant the land was, and flocked to it in numbers till it became a great nation. The climate is temperate and attractive, without any difference of summer and winter. The vegetation is always luxuriant. Cultivation proceeds whenever men think fit: there are no fixed seasons for it.
When Buddha came to this country, wishing to transform the wicked nâgas by his supernatural power, he planted one foot at the north of the royal city, and the other on the top of a mountain, [1] the two being fifteen yojanas apart. Over the footprint at the north of the city the king built a large tope, four hundred cubits high, grandly adorned with gold and silver, and finished with a combination of all the precious substances. By the side of the tope he further built a monastery, called the Abhayagiri, where there are now five thousand monks. There is in it a hall of Buddha, adorned with carved and inlaid work of gold and silver, and rich in the seven precious substances, in which there is an image of Buddha in green jade, more than twenty cubits in height, glittering all over with those substances, and having an appearance of solemn dignity which words cannot express. In the palm of the right hand there is a priceless pearl. Several years had now elapsed since Fâ-hien left the land of Han; the men with whom he had been in intercourse had all been of regions strange to him; his eyes had not rested on an old and familiar hill or river, plant or tree: his fellow-travellers, moreover, had been separated from him, some by death, and others flowing off in different directions; no face or shadow was now with him but his own, and a constant sadness was in his heart. Suddenly one day, when by the side of this image of jade, he saw a merchant presenting as his offering a fan of white silk; [2] and the tears of sorrow involuntarily filled his eyes and fell down.
A former king of the country had sent to Central India and got a slip of the patra tree, which he planted by the side of the hall of Buddha, where a tree grew up to the height of about two hundred cubits. As it bent on one side towards the southeast, the king, fearing it would fall, propped it with a post eight or nine spans around. The tree began to grow at the very heart of the prop, where it met the trunk; a shoot pierced through the post, and went down to the ground, where it entered and formed roots, that rose to the surface and were about four spans round. Although the post was split in the middle, the outer portions kept hold of the shoot, and people did not remove them. Beneath the tree there has been built a vihâra, in which there is an image of Buddha seated, which the monks and commonalty reverence and look up to without ever becoming wearied. In the city there has been reared also the vihâra of Buddha's tooth, in which, as well as on the other, the seven precious substances have been employed.
The king practises the Brahmanical purifications, and the sincerity of the faith and reverence of the population inside the city are also great. Since the establishment of government in the kingdom there has been no famine or scarcity, no revolution or disorder. In the treasuries of the monkish communities there are many precious stones, and the priceless manis. One of the kings once entered one of those treasuries, and when he looked all round and saw the priceless pearls, his covetous greed was excited, and he wished to take them to himself by force. In three days, however, he came to himself, and immediately went and bowed his head to the ground in the midst of the monks, to show his repentance of the evil thought. As a sequel to this, he informed the monks of what had been in his mind, and desired them to make a regulation that from that day forth the king should not be allowed to enter the treasury and see what it contained, and that no bhikshu should enter it till after he had been in orders for a period of full forty years.
In the city there are many Vaisya elders and Sabaean merchants, whose houses are stately and beautiful. The lanes and passages are kept in good order. At the heads of the four principal streets there have been built preaching halls, where, on the eighth, fourteenth, and fifteenth days of the month, they spread carpets, and set forth a pulpit, while the monks and commonalty from all quarters come together to hear the Law. The people say that in the kingdom there may be altogether sixty thousand monks, who get their food from their common stores. The king, besides, prepares elsewhere in the city a common supply of food for five or six thousand more. When any want, they take their great bowls, and go to the place of distribution, and take as much as the vessels will hold, all returning with them full.
The tooth of Buddha is always brought forth in the middle of the third month. Ten days beforehand the king grandly caparisons a large elephant, on which he mounts a man who can speak distinctly, and is dressed in royal robes, to beat a large drum, and make the following proclamation: "The Bodhisattva, during three Asankhyeya-kalpas, [3] manifested his activity, and did not spare his own life. He gave up kingdom, city, wife, and son; he plucked out his eyes and gave them to another; he cut off a piece of his flesh to ransom the life of a dove; he cut off his head and gave it as an alms; he gave his body to feed a starving tigress; he grudged not his marrow and brains. In many such ways as these did he undergo pain for the sake of all living. And so it was, that, having become Buddha, he continued in the world for forty-five years, preaching his Law, teaching and transforming, so that those who had no rest found rest, and the unconverted were converted. When his connection with the living was completed, he attained to pari-nirvana and died. Since that event, for one thousand four hundred and ninety-seven years, the light of the world has gone out, and all living things have had long-continued sadness. Behold! ten days after this, Buddha's tooth will be brought forth, and taken to the Abhayagiri -vihâra. Let all and each, whether monks or laics, who wish to amass merit for themselves, make the roads smooth and in good condition, grandly adorn the lanes and by-ways, and provide abundant store of flowers and incense to be used as offerings to it."
When this proclamation is over, the king exhibits, so as to line both sides of the road, the five hundred different bodily forms in which the Bodhisattva has in the course of his history appeared:—here as Sudâna, there as Sâma; now as the king of elephants, and then as a stag or a horse. All these figures are brightly colored and grandly executed, looking as if they were alive. After this the tooth of Buddha is brought forth, and is carried along in the middle of the road. Everywhere on the way offerings are presented to it, and thus it arrives at the hall of Buddha in the Abhayagiri-vihâra. There monks and laics are collected in crowds. They burn incense, light lamps, and perform all the prescribed services, day and night without ceasing, till ninety days have been completed, when the tooth is returned to the vihâra within the city. On fast-days the door of that vihâra is opened, and the forms of ceremonial reverence are observed according to the rules.
Forty li to the east of the Abhayagiri-vihâra there is a hill, with a vihâra on it, called the Chaitya, where there may be two thousand monks. Among them there is a Sramana of great virtue, named Dharma-gupta, honored and looked up to by all the kingdom. He has lived for more than forty years in an apartment of stone, constantly showing such gentleness of heart, that he has brought snakes and rats to stop together in the same room, without doing one another any harm.
[Footnote 1: This would be what is known as "Adam's peak," having, according to Hardy, the three names of Selesumano, Samastakûta, and Samanila. There is an indentation on the top of it, a superficial hollow, 5 feet 3 3/4 inches long, and 2 1/2 feet wide. The Hindus regard it as the footprint of Siva; the Mohammedans, as that of Adam; and the Buddhists, as in the text—as having been, made by Buddha.]
[Footnote 2: We naturally suppose that the merchant-offerer was a Chinese, as indeed the Chinese texts say, and the fan such as Fâ-hien had seen and used in his native land.]
[Footnote 3: A Kalpa, we have seen, denotes a great period of time; a period during which a physical universe is formed and destroyed. Asankhyeya denotes the highest sum for which a conventional term exists—according to Chinese calculations equal to one followed by seventeen ciphers; according to Thibetan and Singhalese, equal to one followed by ninety-seven ciphers. Every Maha-kalpa consists of four Asankhye-yakalpas.]


~Cremation of an Arhat—Sermon of a Devotee~
South of the city seven li there is a vihâra, called the Mahâ-vihâra, where three thousand monks reside. There had been among them a Sramana, of such lofty virtue, and so holy and pure in his observance of the disciplinary rules, that the people all surmised that he was an Arhat. When he drew near his end, the king came to examine into the point; and having assembled the monks according to rule, asked whether the bhikshu had attained to the full degree of Wisdom. They answered in the affirmative, saying that he was an Arhat. The king accordingly, when he died, buried him after the fashion of an Arhat, as the regular rules prescribed. Four or five li east from the vihâra there was reared a great pile of firewood, which might be more than thirty cubits square, and the same in height. Near the top were laid sandal, aloe, and other kinds of fragrant wood.
On the four sides of the pile they made steps by which to ascend it. With clean white hair-cloth, almost like silk, they wrapped the body round and round. They made a large carriage-frame, in form like our funeral car, but without the dragons and fishes.
At the time of the cremation, the king and the people, in multitudes from all quarters, collected together, and presented offerings of flowers and incense. While they were following the car to the burial-ground, the king himself presented flowers and incense. When this was finished, the car was lifted on the pile, all over which oil of sweet basil was poured, and then a light was applied. While the fire was blazing, every one, with a reverent heart, pulled off his upper garment, and threw it, with his feather-fan and umbrella, from a distance into the midst of the flames, to assist the burning. When the cremation was over, they collected and preserved the bones, and proceeded to erect a tope. Fâ-hien had not arrived in time to see the distinguished Shaman alive, and only saw his burial.
At that time the king, who was a sincere believer in the Law of Buddha and wished to build a new vihâra for the monks, first convoked a great assembly. After giving the monks a meal of rice, and presenting his offerings on the occasion, he selected a pair of first-rate oxen, the horns of which were grandly decorated with gold, silver, and the precious substances. A golden plough had been provided, and the king himself turned up a furrow on the four sides of the ground within which the building was to be. He then endowed the community of the monks with the population, fields, and houses, writing the grant on plates of metal, to the effect that from that time onwards, from generation to generation, no one should venture to annul or alter it.
In this country Fâ-hien heard an Indian devotee, who was reciting a Sûtra from the pulpit, say: "Buddha's alms-bowl was at first in Vaisâlî, and now it is in Gandhâra. After so many hundred years (he gave, when Fâ-hien heard him, the exact number of years, but he has forgotten it), it will go to Western Tukhâra; after so many hundred years, to Khoten; after so many hundred years, to Kharachar; after so many hundred years, to the land of Han; after so many hundred years, it will come to Sinhala; and after so many hundred years, it will return to Central India. After that, it will ascend to the Tushita heaven; and when the Bodhisattva Maitreya sees it, he will say with a sigh, 'The alms-bowl of Sâkyamuni Buddha is come'; and with all the devas he will present to it flowers and incense for seven days. When these have expired, it will return to Jambudvîpa, where it will be received by the king of the sea nâgas, and taken into his nâga palace. When Maitreya shall be about to attain to perfect Wisdom and become Buddha, it will again separate into four bowls, which will return to the top of mount Anna, whence they came. After Maitreya has become Buddha, the four deva kings will again think of the Buddha with their bowls as they did in the case of the previous Buddha. The thousand Buddhas of this Bhadra-kalpa, indeed, will all use the same alms-bowl; and when the bowl has disappeared, the Law of Buddha will go on gradually to be extinguished. After that extinction has taken place, the life of man will be shortened, till it is only a period of five years. During this period of a five years' life, rice, butter, and oil will all vanish away, and men will become exceedingly wicked. The grass and trees which they lay hold of will change into swords and clubs, with which they will hurt, cut, and kill one another. Those among them on whom there is blessing will withdraw from society among the hills; and when the wicked have exterminated one another, they will again come forth, and say among themselves, 'The men of former times enjoyed a very great longevity; but through becoming exceedingly wicked, and doing all lawless things, the length of our life has been shortened and reduced even to five years. Let us now unite together in the practice of what is good, cherishing a gentle and sympathizing heart, and carefully cultivating good faith and righteousness. When each one in this way practises that faith and righteousness, life will go on to double its length till it reaches eighty thousand years. When Maitreya appears in the world, and begins to turn the wheel of this Law, he will in the first place save those among the disciples of the Law left by the Sâkya who have quitted their families, and those who have accepted the three Refuges, undertaken the five Prohibitions and the eight Abstinences, and given offerings to the Three Precious Ones; secondly and thirdly, he will save those between whom and conversion there is a connection transmitted from the past.'" [1]
Such was the discourse, and Fâ-hien wished to write it down as a portion of doctrine; but the man said, "This is taken from no Sûtra, it is only the utterance of my own mind."
[Footnote 1: That is, those whose Karma in the past should be rewarded by such conversion in the present.]


~After Two Years Fâ-hien Takes Ship for China~
Fâ-hien abode in this country two years; and, in addition to his acquisitions in Patna, succeeded in getting a copy of the Vinaya-pitaka of the Mahîsâsakâh school; the Dîrghâgama and Samyuktâgama Sûtras; and also the Samyukta-sañchaya-pitaka;—all being works unknown in the land of Han. Having obtained these Sanscrit works, he took passage in a large merchantman, on board of which there were more than two hundred men, and to which was attached by a rope a smaller vessel, as a provision against damage or injury to the large one from the perils of the navigation. With a favorable wind, they proceeded eastward for three days, and then they encountered a great wind. The vessel sprang a leak and the water came in. The merchants wished to go to the smaller vessel; but the men on board it, fearing that too many would come, cut the connecting rope. The merchants were greatly alarmed, feeling their risk of instant death. Afraid that the vessel would fill, they took their bulky goods and threw them into the water. Fâ-hien also took his pitcher and washing-basin, with some other articles, and cast them into the sea; but fearing that the merchants would cast overboard his books and images, he could only think with all his heart of Kwan-she-yin, and commit his life to the protection of the church of the land of Han, saying in effect, "I have travelled far in search of our Law. Let me, by your dread and supernatural power, return from my wanderings, and reach my resting-place!"
In this way the tempest continued day and night, till on the thirteenth day the ship was carried to the side of an island, where, on the ebbing of the tide, the place of the leak was discovered, and it was stopped, on which the voyage was resumed. On the sea hereabouts there are many pirates, to meet with whom is speedy death. The great ocean spreads out, a boundless expanse. There is no knowing east or west; only by observing the sun, moon, and stars was it possible to go forward. If the weather were dark and rainy, the ship went as she was carried by the wind, without any definite course. In the darkness of the night, only the great waves were to be seen, breaking on one another, and emitting a brightness like that of fire, with huge turtles and other monsters of the deep all about. The merchants were full of terror, not knowing where they were going. The sea was deep and bottomless, and there was no place where they could drop anchor and stop. But when the sky became clear, they could tell east and west, and the ship again went forward in the right direction. If she had come on any hidden rock, there would have been no way of escape.
After proceeding in this way for rather more than ninety days, they arrived at a country called Java-dvipa, where various forms of error and Brahmanism are flourishing, while Buddhism in it is not worth speaking of. After staying there for five months, Fâ-hien again embarked in another large merchantman, which also had on board more than two hundred men. They carried provisions for fifty days, and commenced the voyage on the sixteenth day of the fourth month.
Fâ-hien kept his retreat on board the ship. They took a course to the northeast, intending to fetch Kwang-chow. After more than a month, when the night-drum had sounded the second watch, they encountered a black wind and tempestuous rain, which threw the merchants and passengers into consternation. Fâ-hien again, with all his heart, directed his thoughts to Kwan-she-yin and the monkish communities of the land of Han; and, through their dread and mysterious protection, was preserved to daybreak. After daybreak, the Brahmans deliberated together and said, "It is having this Sramana on board which has occasioned our misfortune and brought us this great and bitter suffering. Let us land the bhikshu and place him on some island-shore. We must not for the sake of one man allow ourselves to be exposed to such imminent peril." A patron of Fâ-hien, however, said to them, "If you land the bhikshu, you must at the same time land me; and if you do not, then you must kill me. If you land this Sramana, when I get to the land of Han, I will go to the king, and inform against you. The king also reveres and believes the Law of Buddha, and honors the bhikshus." The merchants hereupon were perplexed, and did not dare immediately to land Fâ-hien.
At this time the sky continued very dark and gloomy, and the sailing-masters looked at one another and made mistakes. More than seventy days passed from their leaving Java, and the provisions and water were nearly exhausted. They used the salt-water of the sea for cooking, and carefully divided the fresh water, each man getting two pints. Soon the whole was nearly gone, and the merchants took counsel and said, "At the ordinary rate of sailing we ought to have reached Kwang-chow, and now the time is passed by many days;—must we not have held a wrong course?" Immediately they directed the ship to the northwest, looking out for land; and after sailing day and night for twelve days, they reached the shore on the south of mount Lao, on the borders of the prefecture of Ch'ang-kwang, and immediately got good water and vegetables. They had passed through many perils and hardships, and had been in a state of anxious apprehension for many days together; and now suddenly arriving at this shore, and seeing those well-known vegetables, the lei and kwoh, [1] they knew indeed that it was the land of Han. Not seeing, however, any inhabitants nor any traces of them, they did not know whereabouts they were. Some said that they had not yet got to Kwang-chow, and others that they had passed it. Unable to come to a definite conclusion, some of them got into a small boat and entered a creek, to look for someone of whom they might ask what the place was. They found two hunters, whom they brought back with them, and then called on Fâ-hien to act as interpreter and question them. Fâ-hien first spoke assuringly to them, and then slowly and distinctly asked them, "Who are you?" They replied, "We are disciples of Buddha." He then asked, "What are you looking for among these hills?" They began to lie,[2] and said, "To-morrow is the fifteenth day of the seventh month. We wanted to get some peaches to present to Buddha." He asked further, "What country is this?" They replied, "This is the border of the prefecture of Ch'ang-kwang, a part of Ts'ing-chow under the ruling House of Ts'in." When they heard this, the merchants were glad, immediately asked for a portion of their money and goods, and sent men to Ch'ang-kwang city.
The prefect Le E was a reverent believer in the Law of Buddha. When he heard that a Sramana had arrived in a ship across the sea, bringing with him books and images, he immediately came to the sea-shore with an escort to meet the traveller, and receive the books and images, and took them back with him to the seat of his government. On this the merchants went back in the direction of Yang-chow; but when Fâ-hien arrived at Ts'ing-chow, the prefect there begged him to remain with him for a winter and a summer. After the summer retreat was ended, Fâ-hien, having been separated for a long time from his fellows, wished to hurry to Ch'ang-gan; but as the business which he had in hand was important, he went south to the Capital; and at an interview with the masters there exhibited the Sûtras and the collection of the Vinaya which he had procured.
After Fâ-hien set out from Ch'ang-gan, it took him six years to reach Central India; stoppages there extended over six years; and on his return it took him three years to reach Ts'ing-chow. The countries through which he passed were a few under thirty. From the sandy desert westwards on to India, the beauty of the dignified demeanor of the monkhood and of the transforming influence of the Law was beyond the power of language fully to describe; and reflecting how our masters had not heard any complete account of them, he therefore went on without regarding his own poor life, or the dangers to be encountered on the sea upon his return, thus incurring hardships and difficulties in a double form. He was fortunate enough, through the dread power of the three Honored Ones, to receive help and protection in his perils; and therefore he wrote out an account of his experiences, that worthy readers might share with him in what he had heard and said.
[Footnote 1: What these vegetables exactly were it is difficult to say; and there are different readings of the characters for kwoh, brings the two names together in a phrase, but the rendering of it is simply "a soup of simples."]
[Footnote 2: It is likely that these men were really hunters; and, when brought before Fâ-hien, because he was a Sramana, they thought they would please him by saying they were disciples of Buddha. But what had disciples of Buddha to do with hunting and taking life? They were caught in their own trap, and said they were looking for peaches.]