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Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms by Fa-Hien

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[1] Bhida. Eitel says, "The present Punjab;" i.e. it was a portion of

[2] "To come forth from their families;" that is, to become celibates,
and adopt the tonsure.



From this place they travelled south-east, 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'aou-lo.[1] They still followed the course of the P'oo-na[2]
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 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.[3] 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 grain 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 Chandalas.[4] 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.[5] Only the Chandalas are
fishermen and hunters, and sell flesh meat.

After Buddha attained to pari-nirvana,[6] the kings of the various
countries and the heads of the Vaisyas[7] built viharas 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,[8] so that afterwards they were handed
down from king to king, without any 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 Sutras and sit wrapt 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.[9] 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.[10]

Where a community of monks resides, they erect topes to
Sariputtra,[11] to Maha-maudgalyayana,[12] and to Ananda,[13] and also
topes (in honour) of the Abhidharma, the Vinaya, and the Sutras. A
month after the (annual season of) rest, the families which are
looking out for blessing stimulate one another[14] 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;[15] after which offerings are
presented at the tope of Sariputtra, with all kinds of flowers and
incense. All through the night lamps are kept burning, and skilful
musicians are employed to perform.[16]

When Sariputtra 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 Kasyapa[17] also did the same. The
bhikshunis[18] for the most part make their offerings at the tope of
Ananda, because it was he who requested the World-honoured one to
allow females to quit their families (and become nuns). The
Sramaneras[19] mostly make their offerings to Rahula.[20] 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 mahayana present offerings to
the Prajna-paramita,[21] to Manjusri,[22] and to Kwan-she-yin.[23]
When the monks have done receiving their annual tribute (from the
harvests),[24] the Heads of the Vaisyas and all the Brahmans bring
clothes and other such 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 nirvana of Buddha,[25] 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 Southern
India, and on to the Southern Sea, a distance of forty or fifty
thousand le, all is level plain. There are no large hills with streams
(among them); there are simply the waters of the rivers.


[1] Muttra, "the peacock city;" lat. 27d 30s N., lon. 77d 43s E.
(Hunter); the birthplace of Krishna, whose emblem is the peacock.

[2] This must be the Jumna, or Yamuna. Why it is called, as here, the
P'oo-na has yet to be explained.

[3] In Pali, Majjhima-desa, "the Middle Country." See Davids'
"Buddhist Birth Stories," page 61, note.

[4] Eitel (pp. 145, 6) says, "The name Chandalas is explained by
'butchers,' 'wicked men,' and those who carry 'the awful flag,' to
warn off their betters;--the lowest and most despised caste of India,
members of which, however, when converted, were admitted even into the
ranks of the priesthood."

[5] "Cowries;" {.} {.}, not "shells and ivory," as one might suppose;
but cowries alone, the second term entering into the name from the
marks inside the edge of the shell, resembling "the teeth of fishes."

[6] See chapter xii, note 3, Buddha's pari-nirvana is equivalent to
Buddha's death.

[7] See chapter xiii, note 6. The order of the characters is different
here, but with the same meaning.

[8] See the preparation of such a deed of grant in a special case, as
related in chapter xxxix. No doubt in Fa-hien's time, and long before
and after it, it was the custom to engrave such deeds on plates of

[9] "No monk can eat solid food except between sunrise and noon," and
total abstinence from intoxicating drinks is obligatory (Davids'
Manual, p. 163). Food eaten at any other part of the day is called
vikala, and forbidden; but a weary traveller might receive
unseasonable refreshment, consisting, as Watters has shown (Ch. Rev.
viii. 282), of honey, butter, treacle, and sesamum oil.

[10] The expression here is somewhat perplexing; but it occurs again
in chapter xxxviii; and the meaning is clear. See Watters, Ch. Rev.
viii. 282, 3. The rules are given at length in the Sacred Books of the
East, vol. xx, p. 272 and foll., and p. 279 and foll.

[11] Sariputtra (Singh. Seriyut) was one of the principal disciples of
Buddha, and indeed the most learned and ingenious of them all, so that
he obtained the title of {.} {.}, "knowledge and wisdom." He is also
called Buddha's "right-hand attendant." His name is derived from that
of his mother Sarika, the wife of Tishya, a native of Nalanda. In
Spence Hardy, he often appears under the name of Upatissa (Upa-
tishya), derived from his father. Several Sastras are ascribed to him,
and indeed the followers of the Abhidharma look on him as their
founder. He died before Sakyamuni; but is to reappear as a future
Buddha. Eitel, pp. 123, 124.

[12] 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 magical powers. The name in the text is derived from
the former attribute, and it was by the latter that he took up an
artist to Tushita to get a view of Sakyamuni, and so make a statue of
him. (Compare the similar story in chap. vi.) He went to hell, and
released his mother. He also died before Sakyamuni, and is to reappear
as Buddha. Eitel, p. 65.

[13] See chapter xii, note 2.

[14] A passage rather difficult to construe. The "families" would be
those more devout than their neighbours.

[15] One rarely hears this preaching in China. It struck me most as I
once heard it at Osaka in Japan. There was a pulpit in a large hall of
the temple, and the audience sat around on the matted floor. One
priest took the pulpit after another; and the hearers nodded their
heads occasionally, and indicated their sympathy now and then by an
audible "h'm," which reminded me of Carlyle's description of meetings
of "The Ironsides" of Cromwell.

[16] This last statement is wanting in the Chinese editions.

[17] There was a Kasyapa Buddha, anterior to Sakyamuni. But this Maha-
kasyapa was a Brahman of Magadha, who was converted by Buddha, and
became one of his disciples. He took the lead after Sakyamuni's death,
convoked and directed the first synod, from which his title of Arya-
sthavira is derived. As the first compiler of the Canon, he is
considered the fountain of Chinese orthodoxy, and counted as the first
patriarch. He also is to be reborn as Buddha. Eitel, p. 64.

[18] The bhikshunis are the female monks or nuns, subject to the same
rules as the bhikshus, and also to special ordinances of restraint.
See Hardy's E. M., chap. 17. See also Sacred Books of the East, vol.
xx, p. 321.

[19] The Sramaneras are the novices, male or female, who have vowed to
observe the Shikshapada, or ten commandments. Fa-hien was himself one
of them from his childhood. Having heard the Trisharana, or threefold
formula of Refuge,--"I take refuge in Buddha; the Law; the Church,--
the novice undertakes to observe the ten precepts that forbid --(1)
destroying life; (2) stealing; (3) impurity; (4) lying; (5)
intoxicating drinks; (6) eating after midday; (7) dancing, singing,
music, and stage-plays; (8) garlands, scents, unguents, and ornaments;
(9) high or broad couches; (10) receiving gold or silver." Davids'
Manual, p. 160; Hardy's E. M., pp. 23, 24.

[20] The eldest son of Sakyamuni by Yasodhara. Converted to Buddhism,
he followed his father as an attendant; and after Buddha's death
became the founder of a philosophical realistic school (vaibhashika).
He is now revered as the patron saint of all novices, and is to be
reborn as the eldest son of every future Buddha. Eitel, p. 101. His
mother also is to be reborn as Buddha.

[21] There are six (sometimes increased to ten) paramitas, "means of
passing to nirvana:--Charity; morality; patience; energy; tranquil
contemplation; wisdom (prajna); made up to ten by use of the proper
means; science; pious vows; and force of purpose. But it is only
prajna which carries men across the samsara to the shores of nirvana."
Eitel, p. 90.

[22] According to Eitel (pp. 71, 72), "A famous Bodhisattva, now
specially worshipped in Shan-se, whose antecedents are a hopeless
jumble of history and fable. Fa-hien found him here worshipped by
followers of the mahayana school; but Hsuan-chwang connects his
worship with the yogachara or tantra-magic school. The mahayana school
regard him as the apotheosis of perfect wisdom. His most common titles
are Mahamati, "Great wisdom," and Kumara-raja, "King of teaching, with
a thousand arms and a hundred alms-bowls."

[23] Kwan-she-yin and the dogmas about him or her are as great a
mystery as Manjusri. The Chinese name is a mistranslation of the
Sanskrit name Avalokitesvra, "On-looking Sovereign," or even "On-
looking Self-Existent," and means "Regarding or Looking on the sounds
of the world,"="Hearer of Prayer." Originally, and still in Thibet,
Avalokitesvara had only male attributes, but in China and Japan
(Kwannon), this deity (such popularly she is) is represented as a
woman, "Kwan-yin, the greatly gentle, with a thousand arms and a
thousand eyes;" and has her principal seat in the island of P'oo-t'oo,
on the China coast, which is a regular place of pilgrimage. To the
worshippers of whom Fa-hien speaks, Kwan-she-yin would only be
Avalokitesvara. How he was converted into the "goddess of mercy," and
her worship took the place which it now has in China, is a difficult
inquiry, which would take much time and space, and not be brought
after all, so far as I see, to a satisfactory conclusion. See Eitel's
Handbook, pp. 18-20, and his Three Lectures on Buddhism (third
edition), pp. 124-131. I was talking on the subject once with an
intelligent Chinese gentleman, when he remarked, "Have you not much
the same thing in Europe in the worship of Mary?"

[24] Compare what is said in chap. v.

[25] This nirvana of Buddha must be--not his death, but his attaining
to Buddhaship.



From this they proceeded south-east for eighteen yojanas, and found
themselves in a kingdom called Sankasya,[1] at the place where Buddha
came down, after ascending to the Trayastrimsas heaven,[2] and there
preaching for three months his Law for the benefit of his mother.[3]
Buddha had gone up to this heaven by his supernatural power,[4]
without letting his disciples know; but seven days before the
completion (of the three months) he laid aside his invisibility,[4]
and Anuruddha,[5] with his heavenly eyes,[5] saw the World-honoured
one, and immediately said to the honoured one, the great Mugalan, "Do
you go and salute the World-honoured 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 Jambudvipa;" 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-honoured one.

Then the bhikshuni Utpala[6] 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?"[7] Buddha immediately, by his spirit-like power, changed her
into the appearance of a holy Chakravartti[8] king, and she was the
foremost of all in doing reverence to him.

As Buddha descended from his position aloft in the Trayastrimsas
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[9] 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 Asoka, wishing to know where
their ends rested, sent men to dig and see. They went down to the
yellow springs[10] without reaching the bottom of the steps, and from
this the king received an increase to his reverence and faith, and
built a vihara over the steps, with a standing image, sixteen cubits
in height, right over the middle flight. Behind the vihara he erected
a stone pillar, about fifty cubits high,[11] with a lion on the top of
it.[12] Let into the pillar, on each of its four sides,[13] there is
an image of Buddha, inside and out[14] shining and transparent, and
pure as it were of /lapis lazuli/. Some teachers of another
doctrine[15] once disputed with the Sramanas 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 Sramanas, 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[16] that
preceded Sakyamuni Buddha and he himself sat; where they walked,[17]
and where images of their persons were made. At all these places topes
were made, and are still existing. At the place where Sakra, 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 hinayana. 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,[18] with white spots at the side of its ears. As
soon as the monks recognise 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 disappeared; 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 north-west from the monastery there is another, called
"The Great Heap."[19] Great Heap was the name of a wicked demon, who
was converted by Buddha, and men subsequently at this place reared a
vihara. When it was being made over to an Arhat by pouring water on
his hands,[20] 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 labour
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 a hundred 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 men,
whether they be many or few, he will not get to know (the number).[21]

There is a monastery, containing perhaps 600 or 700 monks, in which
there is a place where a Pratyeka Buddha used to take his food. The
nirvana ground (where he was burned[22] 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.


[1] The name is still remaining in Samkassam, a village forty-five
miles northwest of Canouge, lat. 27d 3s N., lon. 79d 50s E.

[2] The heaven of Indra or Sakya, meaning "the heaven of thirty-three
classes," a name which has been explained both historically and
mythologically. "The description of it," says Eitel, p. 148, "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 one 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 Maharajas, concerning the progress of good and
evil in the world," &c. &c.

[3] Buddha's mother, Maya and Mahamaya, the /mater immaculata/ of the
Buddhists, died seven days after his birth. Eitel says, "Reborn in
Tushita, she was visited there by her son and converted." The Tushita
heaven was a more likely place to find her than the Trayastrimsas; but
was the former a part of the latter? Hardy gives a long account of
Buddha's visit to the Trayastrimsas (M. B., pp. 298-302), which he
calls Tawutisa, and speaks of his mother (Matru) in it, who had now
become a deva by the changing of her sex.

[4] Compare the account of the Arhat's conveyance of the artist to the
Tushita heaven in chap. v. The first expression here is more

[5] Anuruddha was a first cousin of Sakyamuni, 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 divyachakshus or
"heavenly eye," the first of the six abhijnas or "supernatural
talents," the faculty of comprehending in one instantaneous view, or
by intuition, all beings in all worlds. "He could see," says Hardy, M.
B., p. 232, "all things in 100,000 sakvalas as plainly as a mustard
seed held in the hand."

[6] Eitel gives the name Utpala with the same Chinese phonetisation as
in the text, but not as the name of any bhikshuni. The Sanskrit word,
however, is explained by "blue lotus flowers;" and Hsuan-chwang calls
her the nun "Lotus-flower colour ({.} {.} {.});"--the same as Hardy's
Upulwan and Uppalawarna.

[7] Perhaps we should read here "to see Buddha," and then ascribe the
transformation to the nun herself. It depends on the punctuation which
view we adopt; and in the structure of the passage, there is nothing
to indicate that the stop should be made before or after "Buddha." And
the one view is as reasonable, or rather as unreasonable, as the

[8] "A holy king who turns the wheel;" that is, the military conqueror
and monarch of the whole or part of a universe. "The symbol," says
Eitel (p. 142) "of such a king is the chakra or wheel, for when he
ascends the throne, a chakra falls from heaven, indicating by its
material (gold, silver, copper, or iron) the extent and character of
his reign. The office, however, of the highest Chakravartti, who hurls
his wheel among his enemies, is inferior to the peaceful mission of a
Buddha, who meekly turns the wheel of the Law, and conquers every
universe by his teaching."

[9] 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.

[10] A common name for the earth below, where, on digging, water is

[11] The height is given as thirty chow, the chow being the distance
from the elbow to the finger-tip, which is variously estimated.

[12] 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
Fa-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
Sravasti, Fa-hien says an ox formed the capital, whilst Hsuan-chwang
calls it an elephant (P. 19, Arch. Survey)."

[13] That is, in niches on the sides. The pillar or column must have
been square.

[14] Equivalent to "all through."

[15] Has always been translated "heretical teachers;" but I eschew the
terms /heresy/ and /heretical/. The parties would not be Buddhists of
any creed or school, but Brahmans or of some other false doctrine, as
Fa-hien deemed it. The Chinese term means "outside" or "foreign;"--in
Pali, anna-titthiya,="those belonging to another school."

[16] These three predecessors of Sakyamuni were the three Buddhas of
the present or Maha-bhadra Kalpa, of which he was the fourth, and
Maitreya is to be the fifth and last. They were: (1) Krakuchanda
(Pali, Kakusanda), "he who readily solves all doubts;" a scion of the
Kasyapa family. Human life reached in his time 40,000 years, and so
many persons were converted by him. (2) Kanakamuni (Pali, Konagamana),
"body radiant with the colour of pure gold;" of the same family. Human
life reached in his time 30,000 years, and so many persons were
converted by him. (3) Kasyapa (Pali, Kassapa), "swallower of light."
Human life reached in his time 20,000 years, and so many persons were
converted by him. See Eitel, under the several names; Hardy's M. B.,
pp. 95-97; and Davids' "Buddhist Birth Stories," p. 51.

[17] That is, walked in meditation. Such places are called Chankramana
(Pali, Chankama); promenades or corridors connected with a monastery,
made sometimes with costly stones, for the purpose of peripatetic
meditation. The "sitting" would be not because of weariness or for
rest, but for meditation. E. H., p. 144.

[18] The character in my Corean copy is {.}, which must be a mistake
for the {.} of the Chinese editions. Otherwise, the meaning would be
"a small medusa."

[19] The reading here seems to me a great improvement on that of the
Chinese editions, which means "Fire Limit." Buddha, it is said, {.}
converted this demon, which Chinese character Beal rendered at first
by "in one of his incarnations;" and in his revised version he has
"himself." The difference between Fa-hien's usage of {.} and {.}
throughout his narrative is quite marked. {.} always refers to the
doings of Sakyamuni; {.}, "formerly," is often used of him and others
in the sense of "in a former age or birth."

[20] See Hardy, M. B., p. 194:--"As a token of the giving over of the
garden, the king poured water upon the hands of Buddha; and from this
time it became one of the principal residences of the sage."

[21] 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.

[22] This seems to be the meaning. The bodies of the monks are all
burned. Hardy's E. M., pp. 322-324.



Fa-hien stayed at the Dragon vihara till after the summer retreat,[1]
and then, travelling to the south-east for seven yojanas, he arrived
at the city of Kanyakubja,[2] lying along the Ganges.[3] There are two
monasteries in it, the inmates of which are students of the hinayana.
At a distance from the city of six or seven le, 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,[4] containing places
where Buddha preached the Law, where he sat, and where he walked, at
all of which topes have been built.


[1] We are now, probably, in 405.

[2] Canouge, the latitude and longitude of which have been given in a
previous note. The Sanskrit name means "the city of humpbacked
maidens;" with reference to the legend of the hundred daughters of
king Brahma-datta, who were made deformed by the curse of the rishi
Maha-vriksha, whose overtures they had refused. E. H., p. 51.

[3] Ganga, explained by "Blessed water," and "Come from heaven to

[4] This village (the Chinese editions read "forest") has hardly been
clearly identified.



Going on from this to the south-east for three yojanas, they came to
the great kingdom of Sha-che.[1] As you go out of the city of Sha-che
by the southern gate, on the east of the road (is the place) where
Buddha, after he had chewed his willow branch,[2] 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[3] 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.


[1] Sha-che should probably be Sha-khe, making Cunningham's
identification of the name with the present Saket still more likely.
The change of {.} into {.} is slight; and, indeed, the Khang-hsi
dictionary thinks the two characters should be but one and the same.

[2] This was, no doubt, what was called the danta-kashtha, or "dental
wood," mostly a bit of the /ficus Indicus/ or banyan tree, which the
monk chews every morning to cleanse his teeth, and for the purpose of
health generally. The Chinese, not having the banyan, have used, or at
least Fa-hien used, Yang ({.}, the general name for the willow)
instead of it.

[3] Are two classes of opponents, or only one, intended here, so that
we should read "all the unbelievers and Brahmans," or "heretics and
Brahmans?" I think the Brahmans were also "the unbelievers" and
"heretics," having {.} {.}, views and ways outside of, and opposed to,



Going on from this to the south, for eight yojanas, (the travellers)
came to the city of Sravasti[1] in the kingdom of Kosala,[2] 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[3]
ruled, and the place of the old vihara of Maha-prajapti;[4] of the
well and walls of (the house of) the (Vaisya) head Sudatta;[5] and
where the Angulimalya[6] became an Arhat, and his body was
(afterwards) burned on his attaining to pari-nirvana. 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 1,200 paces from
it, the (Vaisya) head Sudatta built a vihara, 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 vihara.[7]

When Buddha went up to the Trayastrimsas heaven,[8] 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,[9] and put in the place where he
usually sat. When Buddha on his return entered the vihara, Buddha said
to it, "Return to your seat. After I have attained to pari-nirvana,
you will serve as a pattern to the four classes of my disciples,"[10]
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 vihara was originally of seven storeys. 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
vihara, and the seven storeys were all consumed. The kings, with their
officers and people, were all very sad and distressed, supposing that
the sandal-wood image had been burned; but lo! after four or five
days, when the door of a small vihara on the east was opened, there
was immediately seen the original image. They were all greatly
rejoiced, and co-operated in restoring the vihara. When they had
succeeded in completing two storeys, they removed the image back to
its former place.

When Fa-hien and Tao-ching first arrived at the Jetavana monastery,
and thought how the World-honoured 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 to-day 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,[11] have succeeded to one another, we have never seen men of
Han, followers of our system, arrive here."

Four le to the north-west of the vihara 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 vihara.[12] Buddha
preached his Law to them, and they all got back 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 midday meal, went to the grove, and sat there in

Six or seven le north-east from the Jetavana, mother Vaisakha[13]
built another vihara, to which she invited Buddha and his monks, and
which is still existing.

To each of the great residences for monks at the Jetavana vihara 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
(Vaisya) head Sudatta purchased by covering it with gold coins. The
vihara 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[14] 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 Chanchamana,[15] 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 dropt down on the ground. The earth at the same time was rent,
and she went (down) alive into hell.[16] (This) also is the place
where Devadatta,[17] 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
vihara 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
devalaya[18] of (one of) the contrary systems, called "The Shadow
Covered," right opposite the vihara 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 vihara of the World-
honoured one fell on the devalaya of a contrary system; but when the
sun was in the east, the shadow of that devalaya was diverted to the
north, and never fell on the vihara of Buddha. The mal-believers
regularly employed men to watch their devalaya, 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 vihara of Buddha. The Brahmans were
indignant, and said, "Those Sramanas take out lamps and use them for
their own service of Buddha, but we will not stop our service for
you!"[19] 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 vihara of Buddha and present offerings. After this
ministration to Buddha they suddenly disappeared. The Brahmans
thereupon knowing how great was the spiritual power of Buddha,
forthwith left their families, and became monks.[20] It has been
handed down, that, near the time when these things occurred, around
the Jetavana vihara 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[21] there are ninety-six[21] sorts of
views, erroneous and different from our system, all of which recognise
this world and the future world[22] (and the connexion between them).
Each had 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 road-side 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 Sakyamuni Buddha.

Four le south-east from the city of Sravasti, a tope has been erected
at the place where the World-honoured one encountered king
Virudhaha,[23] when he wished to attack the kingdom of Shay-e,[23] and
took his stand before him at the side of the road.[24]


[1] In Singhalese, Sewet; here evidently the capital of Kosala. It is
placed by Cunningham (Archaeological Survey) on the south bank of the
Rapti, about fifty-eight miles north of Ayodya or Oude. There are
still the ruins of a great town, the name being Sahet Mahat. It was in
this town, or in its neighbourhood, that Sakyamuni spent many years of
his life after he became Buddha.

[2] There were two Indian kingdoms of this name, a southern and a
northern. This was the northern, a part of the present Oudh.

[3] In Singhalese, Pase-nadi, meaning "leader of the victorious army."
He was one of the earliest converts and chief patrons of Sakyamuni.
Eitel calls him (p. 95) one of the originators of Buddhist idolatory,
because of the statue which is mentioned in this chapter. See Hardy's
M. B., pp. 283, 284, et al.

[4] Explained by "Path of Love," and "Lord of Life." Prajapati was
aunt and nurse of Sakyamuni, the first woman admitted to the monkhood,
and the first superior of the first Buddhistic convent. She is yet to
become a Buddha.

[5] Sudatta, meaning "almsgiver," was the original name of Anatha-
pindika (or Pindada), a wealthy householder, or Vaisya head, of
Sravasti, famous for his liberality (Hardy, Anepidu). Of his old
house, only the well and walls remained at the time of Fa-hien's visit
to Sravasti.

[6] The Angulimalya 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; but when it is said in the text that he "got the
Tao," or doctrine, I think that expression implies more than his
conversion, and is equivalent to his becoming an Arhat. His name in
Pali is Angulimala. That he did become an Arhat is clear from his
autobiographical poem in the "Songs of the Theras."

[7] Eitel (p. 37) says:--"A noted vihara in the suburbs of Sravasti,
erected in a park which Anatha-pindika bought of prince Jeta, the son
of Prasenajit. Sakyamuni made this place his favourite residence for
many years. Most of the Sutras (authentic and supposititious) date
from this spot."

[8] See chapter xvii.

[9] See chapter xiii.

[10] Arya, meaning "honourable," "venerable," is a title given only to
those who have mastered the four spiritual truths:--(1) that "misery"
is a necessary condition of all sentient existence; this is duhkha:
(2) that the "accumulation" of misery is caused by the passions; this
is samudaya: (3) that the "extinction" of passion is possible; this is
nirodha: and (4) 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,--
Srotapannas, Sakridagamins, Anagamins, and Arhats. E. H., p. 14.

[11] This is the first time that Fa-hien employs the name Ho-shang {.}
{.}, which is now popularly used in China for all Buddhist monks
without distinction of rank or office. It is the representative of the
Sanskrit term Upadhyaya, "explained," says Eitel (p. 155) by "a
self-taught teacher," or by "he who knows what is sinful and what is
not sinful," with the note, "In India the vernacular of this term is
{.} {.} (? munshee [? Bronze]); in Kustana and Kashgar they say {.}
{.} (hwa-shay); and from the latter term are derived the Chinese
synonyms, {.} {.} (ho-shay) and {.} {.} (ho-shang)." The Indian term
was originally a designation for those who teach only a part of the
Vedas, the Vedangas. Adopted by Buddhists of Central Asia, it was made
to signify the priests of the older ritual, in distinction from the
Lamas. In China it has been used first as a synonym for {.} {.}, monks
engaged in popular teaching (teachers of the Law), in distinction from
{.} {.}, disciplinists, and {.} {.}, contemplative philosophers
(meditationists); then it was used to designate the abbots of
monasteries. But it is now popularly applied to all Buddhist monks. In
the text there seems to be implied some distinction between the
"teachers" and the "ho-shang;"--probably, the Pali Akariya and
Upagghaya; see Sacred Books of the East, vol. xiii, Vinaya Texts, pp.
178, 179.

[12] It might be added, "as depending on it," in order to bring out
the full meaning of the {.} in the text. If I recollect aright, the
help of the police had to be called in at Hong Kong in its early
years, to keep the approaches to the Cathedral free from the number of
beggars, who squatted down there during service, hoping that the
hearers would come out with softened hearts, and disposed to be
charitable. I found the popular tutelary temples in Peking and other
places, and the path up Mount T'ai in Shan-lung similarly frequented.

[13] The wife of Anatha-pindika, and who became "mother superior" of
many nunneries. See her history in M. B., pp. 220-227. I am surprised
it does not end with the statement that she is to become a Buddha.

[14] See E. H., p. 136. Hsuan-chwang does not give the name of this
murderer; see in Julien's "Vie et Voyages de Hiouen-thsang," p. 125,--
"a heretical Brahman killed a woman and calumniated Buddha." See also
the fuller account in Beal's "Records of Western Countries," pp. 7, 8,
where the murder is committed by several Brahmacharins. In this
passage Beal makes Sundari to be the name of the murdered person (a
harlot). But the text cannot be so construed.

[15] Eitel (p. 144) calls her Chancha; in Singhalese, Chinchi. See the
story about her, M. B., pp. 275-277.

[16] "Earth's prison," or "one of Earth's prisons." It was the Avichi
naraka to which she went, the last of the eight hot prisons, where the
culprits die, and are born again in uninterrupted succession (such
being the meaning of Avichi), though not without hope of final
redemption. E. H. p. 21.

[17] Devadatta was brother of Ananda, and a near relative therefore of
Sakyamuni. He was the deadly enemy, however, of the latter. He had
become so in an earlier state of existence, and the hatred continued
in every successive birth, through which they reappeared in the world.
See the accounts of him, and of his various devices against Buddha,
and his own destruction at the last, in M. B., pp. 315-321, 326-330;
and still better, in the Sacred Books of the East, vol. xx, Vinaya
Texts, pp. 233-265. For the particular attempt referred to in the
text, see "The Life of the Buddha," p. 107. When he was engulphed, and
the flames were around him, he cried out to Buddha to save him, and we
are told that he is expected yet to appear as a Buddha under the name
of Devaraja, in a universe called Deva-soppana. E. H., p. 39.

[18] "A devalaya ({.} {.} or {.} {.}), a place in which a deva is
worshipped,--a general name for all Brahmanical temples" (Eitel, p.
30). We read in the Khang-hsi dictionary under {.}, that when Kasyapa
Matanga came to the Western Regions, with his Classics or Sutras, he
was lodged in the Court of State-Ceremonial, and that afterwards there
was built for him "The Court of the White-horse" ({.} {.} {.}), and in
consequence the name of Sze {.} came to be given to all Buddhistic
temples. Fa-hien, however, applies this term only to Brahmanical

[19] Their speech was somewhat unconnected, but natural enough in the
circumstances. Compare the whole account with the narrative in I
Samuel v. about the Ark and Dagon, that "twice-battered god of

[20] "Entered the doctrine or path." Three stages in the Buddhistic
life are indicated by Fa-hien:--"entering it," as here, by becoming
monks ({.} {.}); "getting it," by becoming Arhats ({.} {.}); and
"completing it," by becoming Buddha ({.} {.}).

[21] It is not quite clear whether the author had in mind here Central
India as a whole, which I think he had, or only Kosala, the part of it
where he then was. In the older teaching, there were only thirty-two
sects, but there may have been three subdivisions of each. See Rhys
Davids' "Buddhism," pp. 98, 99.

[22] This mention of "the future world" is an important difference
between the Corean and Chinese texts. The want of it in the latter has
been a stumbling-block in the way of all previous translators. Remusat
says in a note that "the heretics limited themselves to speak of the
duties of man in his actual life without connecting it by the notion
that the metempsychosis with the anterior periods of existence through
which he had passed." But this is just the opposite of what Fa-hien's
meaning was, according to our Corean text. The notion of "the
metempsychosis" was just that in which all the ninety-six erroneous
systems agreed among themselves and with Buddhism. If he had wished to
say what the French sinologue thinks he does say, moreover, he would
probably have written {.} {.} {.} {.} {.}. Let me add, however, that
the connexion which Buddhism holds between the past world (including
the present) and the future is not that of a metempsychosis, or
transmigration of souls, for it does not appear to admit any separate
existence of the soul. Adhering to its own phraseology of "the wheel,"
I would call its doctrine that of "The Transrotation of Births." See
Rhys Davids' third Hibbert Lecture.

[23] Or, more according to the phonetisation of the text, Vaidurya. He
was king of Kosala, the son and successor of Prasenajit, and the
destroyer of Kapilavastu, the city of the Sakya family. His hostility
to the Sakyas is sufficiently established, and it may be considered as
certain that the name Shay-e, which, according to Julien's "Methode,"
p. 89, may be read Chia-e, is the same as Kia-e ({.} {.}), one of the
phonetisations of Kapilavastu, as given by Eitel.

[24] This would be the interview in the "Life of the Buddha" in
Trubner's Oriental Series, p. 116, when Virudhaha on his march found
Buddha under an old sakotato tree. It afforded him no shade; but he
told the king that the thought of the danger of "his relatives and
kindred made it shady." The king was moved to sympathy for the time,
and went back to Sravasti; but the destruction of Kapilavastu was only
postponed for a short space, and Buddha himself acknowledged it to be
inevitable in the connexion of cause and effect.



Fifty le to the west of the city bring (the traveller) to a town named
Too-wei,[1] the birthplace of Kasyapa Buddha.[1] At the place where he
and his father met,[2] and at that where he attained to pari-nirvana,
topes were erected. Over the entire relic of the whole body of him,
the Kasyapa Tathagata,[3] a great tope was also erected.

Going on south-east from the city of Sravasti for twelve yojanas, (the
travellers) came to a town named Na-pei-kea,[4] the birthplace of
Krakuchanda Buddha. At the place where he and his father met, and at
that where he attained to pari-nirvana, 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-nirvana, topes were erected.


[1] Identified, as Beal says, by Cunningham with Tadwa, a village nine
miles to the west of Sahara-mahat. The birthplace of Kasyapa Buddha is
generally thought to have been Benares. According to a calculation of
Remusat, from his birth to A.D. 1832 there were 1,992,859 years!

[2] It seems to be necessary to have a meeting between every Buddha
and his father. One at least is ascribed to Sakyamuni and his father
(real or supposed) Suddhodana.

[3] This is the highest epithet given to every supreme Buddha; in
Chinese {.} {.}, meaning, as Eitel, p. 147 says, "/Sic profectus
sum/." It is equivalent to "Rightful Buddha, the true successor in the
Supreme Buddha Line." Hardy concludes his account of the Kasyapa
Buddha (M. B., p. 97) with the following sentence:--"After his body
was burnt, the bones still remained in their usual position,
presenting the appearance of a perfect skeleton; and the whole of the
inhabitants of Jambudvipa, assembling together, erected a dagoba over
his relics one yojana in height!"

[4] Na-pei-kea or Nabhiga is not mentioned elsewhere. Eitel says this
Buddha was born at the city of Gan-ho ({.} {.} {.}) and Hardy gives
his birthplace as Mekhala. It may be possible, by means of Sanskrit,
to reconcile these statements.



Less than a yojana to the east from this brought them to the city of
Kapilavastu;[1] 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[2] there have been made images of
the prince (his eldest son) and his mother;[3] and at the places where
that son appeared mounted on a white elephant when he entered his
mother's womb,[4] and where he turned his carriage round on seeing the
sick man after he had gone out of the city by the eastern gate,[5]
topes have been erected. The places (were also pointed out)[6] where
(the rishi) A-e[7] 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 to one
side, he tossed it away;[8] where he shot an arrow to the south-east,
and it went a distance of thirty le, then entering the ground and
making a spring to come forth, which men subsequently fashioned into a
well from which travellers might drink;[9] where, after he had
attained to Wisdom, Buddha returned and saw the king, his father;[10]
where five hundred Sakyas quitted their families and did reverence to
Upali[11] 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;[12] where Buddha sat under a nyagrodha tree,
which is still standing,[13] with his face to the east, and (his aunt)
Maja-prajapati presented him with a Sanghali;[14] and (where) king
Vaidurya slew the seed of Sakya, and they all in dying became
Srotapannas.[15] A tope was erected at this last place, which is still

Several le north-east from the city was the king's field, where the
heir-apparent sat under a tree, and looked at the ploughers.[16]

Fifty le east from the city was a garden, named Lumbini,[17] 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.[18] 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,[19] 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;[20] 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 Trayatrimsas heaven to preach the Law for the benefit
of their mothers. Other places in connexion 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[21] and lions, and should not
travel incautiously.


[1] Kapilavastu, "the city of beautiful virtue," was the birthplace of
Sakyamuni, but was destroyed, as intimated in the notes on last
chapter, during his lifetime. It was situated a short distance north-
west of the present Goruckpoor, lat. 26d 46s N., lon. 83d 19s E.
Davids says (Manual, p. 25), "It was on the banks of the river Rohini,
the modern Kohana, about 100 miles north-west of the city of Benares."

[2] The father, or supposed father, of Sakyamuni. He is here called
"the king white and pure" ({.} {.} {.}). A more common appellation is
"the king of pure rice" ({.} {.} {.});" but the character {.}, or
"rice," must be a mistake for {.}, "Brahman," and the appellation=
"Pure Brahman king."

[3] The "eldest son," or "prince" was Sakyamuni, and his mother had no
other son. For "his mother," see chap. xvii, note 3. She was a
daughter of Anjana or Anusakya, king of the neighbouring country of
Koli, and Yasodhara, an aunt of Suddhodana. There appear to have been
various intermarriages between the royal houses of Kapila and Koli.

[4] In "The Life of the Buddha," p. 15, we read that "Buddha was now
in the Tushita heaven, and knowing that his time was come (the time
for his last rebirth in the course of which he would become Buddha),
he made the necessary examinations; and having decided that Maha-maya
was the right mother, in the midnight watch he entered her womb under
the appearance of an elephant." See M. B., pp. 140-143, and, still
better, Rhys Davids' "Birth Stories," pp. 58-63.

[5] In Hardy's M. B., pp. 154, 155, we read, "As the prince
(Siddhartha, the first name given to Sakyamuni; see Eitel, under
Sarvarthasiddha) was one day passing along, he saw a deva under the
appearance of a leper, full of sores, with a body like a water-vessel,
and legs like the pestle for pounding rice; and when he learned from
his charioteer what it was that he saw, be became agitated, and
returned at once to the palace." See also Rhys Davids' "Buddhism," p.

[6] This is an addition of my own, instead of "There are also topes
erected at the following spots," of former translators. Fa-hien does
not say that there were memorial topes at all these places.

[7] Asita; see Eitel, p. 15. He is called in Pali Kala Devala, and had
been a minister of Suddhodana's father.

[8] In "The Life of Buddha" we read that the Lichchhavis of Vaisali
had sent to the young prince a very fine elephant; but when it was
near Kapilavastu, Devadatta, out of envy, killed it with a blow of his
fist. Nanda (not Ananda, but a half-brother of Siddhartha), coming
that way, saw the carcase 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. I suspect that the characters in the column have
been disarranged, and that we should read {.} {.} {.} {.}, {.} {.},
{.} {.}. Buddha, that is Siddhartha, was at this time only ten years

[9] The young Sakyas were shooting when the prince thus surpassed them
all. He was then seventeen.

[10] This was not the night when he finally fled from Kapilavastu, and
as he was leaving the palace, perceiving his sleeping father, and
said, "Father, though I love thee, yet a fear possesses me, and I may
not stay;"--The Life of the Buddha, p. 25. Most probably it was that
related in M. B., pp. 199-204. See "Buddhist Birth Stories," pp. 120-

[11] They did this, I suppose, to show their humility, for Upali was
only a Sudra by birth, and had been a barber; so from the first did
Buddhism assert its superiority to the conditions of rank and caste.
Upali 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

[12] I have not met with the particulars of this preaching.

[13] Meaning, as explained in Chinese, "a tree without knots;" the
/ficus Indica/. See Rhys Davids' note, Manual, p. 39, where he says
that a branch of one of these trees was taken from Buddha Gaya to
Anuradhapura in Ceylon in the middle of the third century B.C, and is
still growing there, the oldest historical tree in the world.

[14] See chap. xiii, note 11. I have not met with the account of this
presentation. See the long account of Prajapati in M. B., pp. 306-315.

[15] See chap. xx, note 10. The Srotapannas are the first class of
saints, who are not to be reborn in a lower sphere, but attain to
nirvana after having been reborn seven times consecutively as men or
devas. The Chinese editions state there were "1000" of the Sakya seed.
The general account is that they were 500, 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 Srotapanna. "The Life
of the Buddha," p. 121.

[16] See the account of this event in M. B., p. 150. The account of it
reminds me of the ploughing by the sovereign, which has been an
institution in China from the earliest times. But there we have no
magic and no extravagance.

[17] "The place of Liberation;" see chap. xiii, note 7.

[18] See the accounts of this event in M. B., pp. 145, 146; "The Life
of the Buddha," pp. 15, 16; and "Buddhist Birth Stories," p. 66.

[19] There is difficulty in construing the text of this last
statement. Mr. Beal had, no doubt inadvertently, omitted it in his
first translation. In his revised version he gives for it, I cannot
say happily, "As well as at the pool, the water of which came down
from above for washing (the child)."

[20] See chap. xvii, note 8. See also Davids' Manual, p. 45. The
latter says, that "to turn the wheel of the Law" means "to set rolling
the royal chariot wheel of a universal empire of truth and
righteousness;" but he admits that this is more grandiloquent than the
phraseology was in the ears of Buddhists. I prefer the words quoted
from Eitel in the note referred to. "They turned" is probably
equivalent to "They began to turn."

[21] Fa-hien does not say that he himself saw any of these white
elephants, nor does he speak of the lions as of any particular colour.
We shall find by-and-by, in a note further on, that, to make them
appear more terrible, they are spoken of as "black."



East from Buddha's birthplace, and at a distance of five yojanas,
there is a kingdom called Rama.[1] The king of this country, having
obtained one portion of the relics of Buddha's body,[2] returned with
it and built over it a tope, named the Rama 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 to 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) 84,000
topes.[3] After he had thrown down the seven (others), he wished next
to destroy this tope. But then the dragon showed itself, took the king
into its palace;[4] and 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[5] 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),[6] and resumed the status of a Sramanera.[7] 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 Sramanera head of the establishment.


[1] Rama or Ramagrama, between Kapilavastu and Kusanagara.

[2] See the account of the eightfold division of the relics of
Buddha's body in the Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, Buddhist
Suttas, pp. 133-136.

[3] 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.

[4] Fa-hien, it appears to me, intended his readers to understand that
the naga-guardian had a palace of his own, inside or underneath the
pool or tank.

[5] It stands out on the narrative as a whole that we have not here
"some pilgrims," but one devotee.

[6] What the "great prohibitions" which the devotee now gave up were
we cannot tell. Being what he was, a monk of more than ordinary
ascetical habits, he may have undertaken peculiar and difficult vows.

[7] The Sramanera, or in Chinese Shamei. See chap. xvi, note 19.



East from here four yojanas, there is the place where the heir-
apparent sent back Chandaka, with his white horse;[1] and there also a
tope was erected.

Four yojanas to the east from this, (the travellers) came to the
Charcoal tope,[2] where there is also a monastery.

Going on twelve yojanas, still to the east, they came to the city of
Kusanagara,[3] on the north of which, between two trees,[4] on the
bank of the Nairanjana[5] river, is the place where the World-honoured
one, with his head to the north, attained to pari-nirvana (and died).
There also are the places where Subhadra,[6] the last (of his
converts), attained to Wisdom (and became an Arhat); where in his
coffin of gold they made offerings to the World-honoured one for seven
days,[7] where the Vajrapani laid aside his golden club,[8] and where
the eight kings[9] divided the relics (of the burnt body):--at all
these places were built topes and monasteries, all of which are now

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 south-east for twelve yojanas, they came to the
place where the Lichchhavis[10] wished to follow Buddha to (the place
of) his pari-nirvana, 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.


[1] This was on the night when Sakyamuni finally left his palace and
family to fulfil the course to which he felt that he was called.
Chandaka, in Pali Channa, was the prince's charioteer, and in sympathy
with him. So also was the white horse Kanthaka (Kanthakanam Asvaraja),
which neighed his delight till the devas heard him. See M. B., pp.
158-161, and Davids' Manual, pp. 32, 33. According to "Buddhist Birth
Stories," p. 87, the noble horse never returned to the city, but died
of grief at being left by his master, to be reborn immediately in the
Trayastrimsas heaven as the deva Kanthaka!

[2] Beal and Giles call this the "Ashes" tope. I also would have
preferred to call it so; but the Chinese character is {.}, not {.}.
Remusat has "la tour des charbons." It was over the place of Buddha's

[3] In Pali Kusinara. It got its name from the Kusa grass (the /poa
cynosuroides/); and its ruins are still extant, near Kusiah, 180 N.W.
from Patna; "about," says Davids, "120 miles N.N.E. of Benares, and 80
miles due east of Kapilavastu."

[4] The Sala tree, the /Shorea robusta/, which yields the famous teak

[5] Confounded, according to Eitel, even by Hsuan-chwang, with the
Hiranyavati, which flows past the city on the south.

[6] A Brahman of Benares, said to have been 120 years old, who came to
learn from Buddha the very night he died. Ananda 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. Eitel says that he attained to nirvana a few moments before
Sakyamuni; but see the full account of him and his conversion in
"Buddhist Suttas," p. 103-110.

[7] Thus treating the dead Buddha as if he had been a Chakravartti
king. Hardy's M. B., p. 347, says:--"For the place of cremation, the
princes (of Kusinara) offered their own coronation-hall, which was
decorated with the utmost magnificence, and the body was deposited in
a golden sarcophagus." See the account of a cremation which Fa-hien
witnessed in Ceylon, chap. xxxix.

[8] The name Vajrapani is explained as "he who holds in his hand the
diamond club (or pestle=sceptre)," which is one of the many names of
Indra or Sakra. He therefore, that great protector of Buddhism, would
seem to be intended here; but the difficulty with me is that neither
in Hardy nor Rockhill, nor any other writer, have I met with any
manifestation of himself made by Indra on this occasion. The princes
of Kusanagara were called mallas, "strong or mighty heroes;" so also
were those of Pava and Vaisali; and a question arises whether the
language may not refer to some story which Fa-hien had heard,--
something which they did on this great occasion. Vajrapani is also
explained as meaning "the diamond mighty hero;" but the epithet of
"diamond" is not so applicable to them as to Indra. The clause may
hereafter obtain more elucidation.

[9] Of Kusanagara, Pava, Vaisali, and other kingdoms. Kings, princes,
brahmans,--each wanted the whole relic; but they agreed to an
eightfold division at the suggestion of the brahman Drona.

[10] These "strong heroes" were the chiefs of Vaisali, a kingdom and
city, with an oligarchical constitution. They embraced Buddhism early,
and were noted for their peculiar attachment to Buddha. The second
synod was held at Vaisali, as related in the next chapter. The ruins
of the city still exist at Bassahar, north of Patna, the same, I
suppose, as Besarh, twenty miles north of Hajipur. See Beal's Revised
Version, p. lii.



East from this city ten yojanas, (the travellers) came to the kingdom
of Vaisali. North of the city so named is a large forest, having in it
the double-galleried vihara[1] where Buddha dwelt, and the tope over
half the body of Ananda.[2] Inside the city the woman Ambapali[3]
built a vihara in honour of Buddha, which is now standing as it was at
first. Three le south of the city, on the west of the road, (is the)
garden (which) the same Ambapali presented to Buddha, in which he
might reside. When Buddha was about to attain to his pari-nirvana, 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."[4] Men subsequently built a tope at this spot.

Three le north-west 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, "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 500 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.[5] The two kings,
the fathers, thereupon fell into reflection, and both got to be
Pratyeka Buddhas.[6] The tope of the two Pratyeka Buddhas is still

In a subsequent age, when the World-honoured one had attained to
perfect Wisdom (and become Buddha), he said to is disciples, "This is
the place where I in a former age laid down my bow and weapons."[7] 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.[8]

It was by the side of the "Weapons-laid-down" tope that Buddha, having
given up the idea of living longer, said to Ananda, "In three months
from this I will attain to pavi-nirvana;" and king Mara[9] had so
fascinated and stupefied Ananda, that he was not able to ask Buddha to
remain longer in this world.

Three or four le east from this place there is a tope (commemorating
the following occurrence):--A hundred years after the pari-nirvana
of Buddha, some Bhikshus of Vaisali 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
700 monks, examined afresh and collated the collection of disciplinary
books.[10] Subsequently men built at this place the tope (in
question), which is still existing.


[1] It is difficult to tell what was the peculiar form of this vihara
from which it gets its name; something about the construction of its
door, or cupboards, or galleries.

[2] See the explanation of this in the next chapter.

[3] Ambapali, Amrapali, or Amradarika, "the guardian of the Amra
(probably the mango) tree," is famous in Buddhist annals. See the
account of her in M. B., pp. 456-8. She was a courtesan. She had been
in many narakas or hells, was 100,000 times a female beggar, and
10,000 times a prostitute; but maintaining perfect continence during
the period of Kasyapa Buddha, Sakyamuni's predecessor, she had been
born a devi, and finally appeared in earth under an Amra tree in
Vaisali. There again she fell into her old ways, and had a son by king
Bimbisara; but she was won over by Buddha to virtue and chastity,
renounced the world, and attained to the state of an Arhat. See the
earliest account of Ambapali's presentation of the garden in "Buddhist
Suttas," pp. 30-33, and the note there from Bishop Bigandet on pp. 33,

[4] Beal gives, "In this place I have performed the last religious act
of my earthly career;" Giles, "This is the last place I shall visit;"
Remusat, "C'est un lieu ou je reviendrai bien longtemps apres ceci."
Perhaps the "walk" to which Buddha referred had been for meditation.

[5] See the account of this legend in the note in M. B., pp. 235, 236,
different, but not less absurd. The first part of Fa-hien's narrative
will have sent the thoughts of some of my readers to the exposure of
the infant Moses, as related in Exodus. [Certainly did.--JB.]

[6] See chap. xiii, note 14.

[7] Thus Sakyamuni 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.

[8] Bhadra-kalpa, "the Kalpa of worthies or sages." "This," says
Eitel, p. 22, "is a designation for a Kalpa of stability, so called
because 1000 Buddhas appear in the course of it. Our present period is
a Bhadra-kalpa, and four Buddhas have already appeared. It is to last
236 million years, but over 151 millions have already elapsed."

[9] "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." The oldest form of the legend in
this paragraph is in "Buddhist Suttas," Sacred Books of the East, vol.
xi, pp. 41-55, where Buddha says that, if Ananda had asked him thrice,
he would have postponed his death.

[10] 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. See, on the formation of the Buddhist Canon, Hardy's
E. M., chap. xviii, and the last chapter of Davids' Manual, on the
History of the Order. The first Council was that held at Rajagriha,
shortly after Buddha's death, under the presidency of Kasyapa;--say
about B.C. 410. The second was that spoken of here;--say about B.C.
300. In Davids' Manual (p. 216) we find the ten points of discipline,
in which the heretics (I can use that term here) claimed at least
indulgence. Two meetings were held to consider and discuss them. At
the former the orthodox party barely succeeded in carrying their
condemnation of the laxer monks; and a second and larger meeting, of
which Fa-hien speaks, was held in consequence, and a more emphatic
condemnation passed. At the same time all the books and subjects of
discipline seem to have undergone a careful revision.

The Corean text is clearer than the Chinese as to those who composed
the Council,--the Arhats and orthodox monks. The leader among them was
a Yasas, or Yasada, or Yedsaputtra, who had been a disciple of Ananda,
and must therefore have been a very old man.



Four yojanas on from this place to the east brought the travellers to
the confluence of the five rivers.[1] When Ananda was going from
Magadha[2] to Vaisali, wishing his pari-nirvana to take place (there),
the devas informed king Ajatasatru[3] 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 Vaisali
had heard that Amanda 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 Ananda considered that, if he went forward, king Ajatasatru
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 Samadhi,[4] and his pari-nirvana was
attained. He divided his body (also) into two, (leaving) the half of
it on each bank; so that each of the two kings got one half as a
(sacred) relic, and took it back (to his own capital), and there
raised a tope over it.


[1] This spot does not appear to have been identified. It could not be
far from Patna.

[2] Magadha was for some time the headquarters of Buddhism; the holy
land, covered with viharas; a fact perpetuated, as has been observed
in a previous note, in the name of the present Behar, the southern
portion of which corresponds to the ancient kingdom of Magadha.

[3] In Singhalese, Ajasat. See the account of his conversion in M. B.,
pp. 321-326. He was the son of king Bimbisara, 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
favourer of Devadatta. When converted, he became famous for his
liberality in almsgiving.

[4] Eitel has a long article (pp. 114, 115) on the meaning of Samadhi,
which is one of the seven sections of wisdom (bodhyanga). Hardy
defines it as meaning "perfect tranquillity;" Turnour, as "meditative
abstraction;" Burnouf, as "self-control;" and Edkins, as "ecstatic
reverie." "Samadhi," 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
nirvana, consistently culminating in total destruction of life." He
then quotes apparently the language of the text, "He consumed his body
by Agni (the fire of) Samadhi," and says it is "a common expression
for the effects of such ecstatic, ultra-mystic self-annihilation." All
this is simply "a darkening of counsel by words without knowledge."
Some facts concerning the death of Ananda are hidden beneath the
darkness of the phraseology, which it is impossible for us to
ascertain. By or in Samadhi he burns his body in the very middle of
the river, and then he divides the relic of the burnt body into two
parts (for so evidently Fa-hien intended his narration to be taken),
and leaves one half on each bank. The account of Ananda's death in
Nien-ch'ang's "History of Buddha and the Patriarchs" is much more
extravagant. Crowds of men and devas are brought together to witness
it. The body is divided into four parts. One is conveyed to the
Tushita heaven; a second, to the palace of a certain Naga king; a
third is given to Ajatasatru; and the fourth to the Lichchhavis. What
it all really means I cannot tell.



Having crossed the river, and descended south for a yojana, (the
travellers) came to the town of Pataliputtra,[1] in the kingdom of
Magadha, the city where king Asoka[2] 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-kuta[3] 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, "To-morrow
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,[4] named Radha-
sami,[5] a professor of the mahayana, of clear discernment and much
wisdom, who understood everything, living by himself in spotless
purity. The king of the country honoured 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 mahayana
monastery, very grand and beautiful; there is also a hinayana one; the
two together containing six or seven hundred monks. The rules of
demeanour and the scholastic arrangements[6] in them are worthy of

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 Manjusri,[7] whom the Shamans of greatest
virtue in the kingdom, and the mahayana Bhikshus honour and look up

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 four storeys 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[8] is wrapped all round it, which is then
painted in various colours. 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 pay their devotion 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,[9] the first which he made was the great tope, more
than three le 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."[10] North from the
tope 300 or 400 paces, king Asoka built the city of Ne-le.[11] 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.


[1] The modern Patna, lat. 25d 28s N., lon. 85d 15s E. The Sanskrit
name means "The city of flowers." It is the Indian Florence.

[2] See chap. x, note 3. Asoka transferred his court from Rajagriha to
Pataliputtra, and there, in the eighteenth year of his reign, he
convoked the third Great Synod,--according, at least, to southern
Buddhism. It must have been held a few years before B.C. 250; Eitel
says in 246.

[3] "The Vulture-hill;" so called because Mara, according to Buddhist
tradition, once assumed the form of a vulture on it to interrupt the
meditation of Ananda; or, more probably, because it was a resort of
vultures. It was near Rajagriha, the earlier capital of Asoka, so that
Fa-hien connects a legend of it with his account of Patna. It abounded
in caverns, and was famous as a resort of ascetics.

[4] A Brahman by cast, but a Buddhist in faith.

[5] So, by the help of Julien's "Methode," I transliterate the Chinese
characters {.} {.} {.} {.}. Beal gives Radhasvami, his Chinese text
having a {.} between {.} and {.}. I suppose the name was Radhasvami or

[6] {.} {.}, the names of two kinds of schools, often occurring in the
Li Ki and Mencius. Why should there not have been schools in those
monasteries in India as there were in China? Fa-hien himself grew up
with other boys in a monastery, and no doubt had to "go to school."
And the next sentence shows us there might be schools for more
advanced students as well as for the Sramaneras.

[7] See chap. xvi, note 22. It is perhaps with reference to the famous
Bodhisattva that the Brahman here is said to be "also" named Manjusri.

[8] ? Cashmere cloth.

[9] See chap. xxiii, note 3.

[10] We wish that we had more particulars of this great transaction,
and that we knew what value in money Asoka set on the whole world. It
is to be observed that he gave it to the monks, and did not receive it
from them. Their right was from him, and he bought it back. He was the
only "Power" that was.

[11] We know nothing more of Ne-le. It could only have been a small
place; an outpost for the defence of Pataliputtra.



(The travellers) went on from this to the south-east for nine yojanas,
and came to a small solitary rocky hill,[1] at the head or end of
which[2] was an apartment of stone, facing the south,--the place where
Buddha sat, when Sakra, Ruler of Devas, brought the deva-musician,
Pancha-(sikha),[3] 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.[4] The prints
of his tracing are still there; and here also there is a monastery.

A yojana south-west from this place brought them to the village of
Nala,[5] where Sariputtra[6] was born, and to which also he returned,
and attained here his pari-nirvana. 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 Rajagriha,[7]--the new
city which was built by king Ajatasatru. There were two monasteries in
it. Three hundred paces outside the west gate, king Ajatasatru, 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 le, 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 Bimbisara; from east to west about five or six le, and
from north to south seven or eight. It was here that Sariputtra and
Maudgalyayana first saw Upasena;[8] that the Nirgrantha[9] made a pit
of fire and poisoned the rice, and then invited Buddha (to eat with
him); that king Ajatasatru made a black elephant intoxicated with
liquor, wishing him to injure Buddha;[10] and that at the north-east
corner of the city in a (large) curving (space) Jivaka built a vihara
in the garden of Ambapali,[11] and invited Buddha with his 1250
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.


[1] Called by Hsuan-chwang Indra-sila-guha, or "The cavern of Indra."
It has been identified with a hill near the village of Giryek, on the
bank of the Panchana river, about thirty-six miles from Gaya. The hill
terminates in two peaks overhanging the river, and it is the more
northern and higher of these which Fa-hien had in mind. It bears an
oblong terrace covered with the ruins of several buildings, especially
of a vihara.

[2] This does not mean the top or summit of the hill, but its
"headland," where it ended at the river.

[3] See the account of this visit of Sakra in M. B., pp. 288-290. It
is from Hardy that we are able to complete here the name of the
musician, which appears in Fa-hien as only Pancha, or "Five." His harp
or lute, we are told, was "twelve miles long."

[4] Hardy (M. B., pp. 288, 289) makes the subjects only thirteen,
which are still to be found in one of the Sutras ("the Dik-Sanga, in
the Sakra-prasna Sutra"). Whether it was Sakra who wrote his
questions, or Buddha who wrote the answers, depends on the
punctuation. It seems better to make Sakra the writer.

[5] Or Nalanda; identified with the present Baragong. A grand
monastery was subsequently built at it, famous by the residence for
five years of Hsuan-chwang.

[6] See chap. xvi, note 11. There is some doubt as to the statement
that Nala was his birthplace.

[7] The city of "Royal Palaces;" "the residence of the Magadha kings
from Bimbisara to Asoka, the first metropolis of Buddhism, at the foot
of the Gridhrakuta mountains. Here the first synod assembled within a
year after Sakyamuni's death. Its ruins are still extant at the
village of Rajghir, sixteen miles S.W. of Behar, and form an object of
pilgrimage to the Jains (E. H., p. 100)." It is called New Rajagriha
to distinguish it from Kusagarapura, a few miles from it, the old
residence of the kings. Eitel says it was built by Bimbisara, while
Fa-hien ascribes it to Ajatasatru. I suppose the son finished what the
father had begun.

[8] 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. See Sacred
Books of the East, vol. xiii, Vinaya Texts, pp. 144-147.

[9] One of the six Tirthyas (Tirthakas="erroneous teachers;" M. B.,
pp. 290-292, but I have not found the particulars of the attempts on
Buddha's life referred to by Fa-hien), or Brahmanical opponents of
Buddha. He was an ascetic, one of the Jnati clan, and is therefore
called Nirgranthajnati. He taught a system of fatalism, condemned the
use of clothes, and thought he could subdue all passions by fasting.
He had a body of followers, who called themselves by his name (Eitel,
pp. 84, 85), and were the forerunners of the Jains.

[10] The king was moved to this by Devadatta. Of course the elephant
disappointed them, and did homage to Sakyamuni. See Sacred Books of
the East, vol. xx, Vinaya Texts, p. 247.

[11] See chap. xxv, note 3. Jivaka was Ambapali's son by king
Bimbisara, and devoted himself to the practice of medicine. See the
account of him in the Sacred Books of the East, vol. xvii, Vinaya
Texts, pp. 171-194.



Entering the valley, and keeping along the mountains on the south-
east, after ascending fifteen le, (the travellers) came to mount
Gridhra-kuta.[1] Three le 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 north-west there is another, where Ananda was
sitting in meditation, when the deva Mara Pisuna,[2] 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 Ananda'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,[3]
the rock is still there.[4]

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 Fa-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 Surangama (Sutra).[5] I,
Fa-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 Surangama Sutra, remained there over the night, and then returned
towards the New City.[6]


[1] See chap. xxviii, note 1.

[2] See chap. xxv, note 9. Pisuna is a name given to Mara, and
signifies "sinful lust."

[3] See M. B., p. 320. Hardy says that Devadatta's attempt was "by the
help of a machine;" but the oldest account in the Sacred Books of the
East, vol. xx, Vinaya Texts, p. 245, agrees with what Fa-hien implies
that he threw the rock with his own arm.

[4] And, as described by Hsuan-chwang, fourteen or fifteen cubits
high, and thirty paces round.

[5] See Mr. Bunyiu Nanjio's "Catalogue of the Chinese Translation of
the Buddhist Tripitaka," Sutra Pitaka, Nos. 399, 446. It was the
former of these that came on this occasion to the thoughts and memory
of Fa-hien.

[6] In a note (p. lx) to his revised version of our author, Mr. Beal
says, "There is a full account of this perilous visit of Fa-hien, and
how he was attacked by tigers, in the 'History of the High Priests.'"
But "the high priests" merely means distinguished monks, "eminent
monks," as Mr. Nanjio exactly renders the adjectival character. Nor
was Fa-hien "attacked by tigers" on the peak. No "tigers" appear in
the Memoir. "Two black lions" indeed crouched before him for a time
this night, "licking their lips and waving their tails;" but their
appearance was to "try," and not to attack him; and when they saw him
resolute, they "drooped their heads, put down their tails, and
prostrated themselves before him." This of course is not an historical
account, but a legendary tribute to his bold perseverance.



Out from the old city, after walking over 300 paces, on the west of
the road, (the travellers) found the Karanda Bamboo garden,[1] where
the (old) vihara is still in existence, with a company of monks, who
keep (the ground about it) swept and watered.

North of the vihara two or three le there was the Smasanam, which name
means in Chinese "the field of graves into which the dead are

As they kept along the mountain on the south, and went west for 300
paces, they found a dwelling among the rocks, named the Pippala
cave,[3] in which Buddha regularly sat in meditation after taking his
(midday) meal.

Going on still to the west for five or six le, on the north of the
hill, in the shade, they found the cavern called Srataparna,[4] the
place where, after the nirvana[5] of Buddha, 500 Arhats collected the
Sutras. When they brought the Sutras forth, three lofty seats[6] had
been prepared and grandly ornamented. Sariputtra occupied the one on
the left, and Maudgalyayana that on the right. Of the number of five
hundred one was wanting. Mahakasyapa was president (on the middle
seat). Amanda was then outside the door, and could not get in.[7] At
the place there was (subsequently) raised a tope, which is still

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 le, 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[8] is impermanent, a thing of bitterness and
vanity,[9] and which cannot be looked on as pure.[10] 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-honoured one laid down a prohibition against one's killing
himself."[11] Further it occurred to him:--"Yes, he did; but I now
only wish to kill three poisonous thieves."[12] Immediately with the
knife he cut his throat. With the first gash into the flesh he
attained the state of a Srotapanna;[13] when he had gone half through,
he attained to be an Anagamin;[14] and when he had cut right through,
he was an Arhat, and attained to pari-nirvana;[15] (and died).


[1] Karanda Venuvana; a park presented to Buddha by king Bimbisara,
who also built a vihara in it. See the account of the transaction in
M. B., p. 194. The place was called Karanda, from a creature so named,
which awoke the king just as a snake was about to bite him, and thus
saved his life. In Hardy the creature appears as a squirrel, but Eitel
says that the Karanda is a bird of sweet voice, resembling a magpie,
but herding in flocks; the /cuculus melanoleucus/. See "Buddhist Birth
Stories," p. 118.

[2] The language here is rather contemptuous, as if our author had no
sympathy with any other mode of disposing of the dead, but by his own
Buddhistic method of cremation.

[3] The Chinese characters used for the name of this cavern serve also
to name the pippala (peepul) tree, the /ficus religiosa/. They make us
think that there was such a tree overshadowing the cave; but Fa-hien
would hardly have neglected to mention such a circumstance.

[4] 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

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