Chinese Literature
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High pillars rise the level court around; The pleasant light the open chamber steeps; And deep recesses, wide alcoves, are found, Where our good king in perfect quiet sleeps.

Laid is the bamboo mat on rush mat square;— Here shall he sleep, and, waking, say, "Divine What dreams are good? For bear and grizzly bear, And snakes and cobras, haunt this couch of mine."

Then shall the chief diviner glad reply, "The bears foreshow that Heaven will send you sons. The snakes and cobras daughters prophesy. These auguries are all auspicious ones.

"Sons shall be his—on couches lulled to rest. The little ones, enrobed, with sceptres play; Their infant cries are loud as stern behest; Their knees the vermeil covers shall display. As king hereafter one shall be addressed; The rest, our princes, all the States shall sway.

"And daughters also to him shall be born. They shall be placed upon the ground to sleep; Their playthings tiles, their dress the simplest worn; Their part alike from good and ill to keep, And ne'er their parents' hearts to cause to mourn; To cook the food, and spirit-malt to steep."

The Condition of King Seuen's Flocks

Who dares to say your sheep are few? The flocks are all three hundred strong. Who dares despise your cattle too? There ninety, black-lipped, press along. Though horned the sheep, yet peaceful each appears; The cattle come with moist and flapping ears.

These climb the heights, those drink the pool; Some lie at rest, while others roam. With rain-coats, and thin splint hats cool, And bearing food, your herdsmen come. In thirties, ranged by hues, the creatures stand; Fit victims they will yield at your command.

Your herdsmen twigs and fagots bring, With prey of birds and beasts for food. Your sheep, untouched by evil thing, Approach, their health and vigor good. The herdsman's waving hand they all behold, And docile come, and pass into the fold.

Your herdsmen dream;—fish take the place Of men; on banners falcons fly, Displacing snakes and tortoises. The augur tells his prophecy:— "The first betoken plenteous years; the change Of banners shows of homes a widening range."



A Eunuch Complains of His Fate

A few fine lines, at random drawn, Like the shell-pattern wrought in lawn To hasty glance will seem. My trivial faults base slander's slime Distorted into foulest crime, And men me worthless deem.

A few small points, pricked down on wood, May be made out a picture good Of the bright Southern Sieve. Who planned, and helped those slanderers vile, My name with base lies to defile? Unpitied, here I grieve.

With babbling tongues you go about, And only scheme how to make out The lies you scatter round. Hear me—Be careful what you say; People ere long your words will weigh, And liars you'll be found.

Clever you are with changeful schemes! How else could all your evil dreams And slanders work their way? Men now believe you; by and by, The truth found out, each vicious lie Will ill for ill repay.

The proud rejoice; the sufferer weeps. O azure Heaven, from out thy deeps Why look in silence down? Behold those proud men and rebuke; With pity on the sufferers look, And on the evil frown.

Those slanderers I would gladly take, With all who help their schemes to make, And to the tigers throw. If wolves and tigers such should spare, Td hurl them 'midst the freezing air, Where the keen north winds blow. And should the North compassion feel I'd fling them to great Heaven, to deal On them its direst woe.

As on the sacred heights you dwell, My place is in the willow dell, One is the other near. Before you, officers, I spread These lines by me, poor eunuch, made. Think not Mang-tsze severe.

An Officer Deplores the Misery of the Time

In the fourth month summer shines; In the sixth the heat declines. Nature thus grants men relief; Tyranny gives only grief. Were not my forefathers men? Can my suffering 'scape their ken?

In the cold of autumn days Each plant shrivels and decays. Nature then is hard and stern; Living things sad lessons learn. Friends dispersed, all order gone, Place of refuge have I none.

Winter days are wild and fierce; Rapid gusts each crevice pierce. Such is my unhappy lot, Unbefriended and forgot! Others all can happy be; I from misery ne'er am free.

On the mountains are fine trees; Chestnuts, plum-trees, there one sees. All the year their forms they show; Stately more and more they grow. Noble turned to ravening thief! What the cause? This stirs my grief.

Waters from that spring appear Sometimes foul, and sometimes clear, Changing oft as falls the rain, Or the sky grows bright again. New misfortunes every day Still befall me, misery's prey.

Aid from mighty streams obtained, Southern States are shaped and drained. Thus the Keang and Han are thanked, And as benefactors ranked. Weary toil my vigor drains; All unnoticed it remains!

Hawks and eagles mount the sky; Sturgeons in deep waters lie. Out of reach, they safely get, Arrow fear not, nor the net. Hiding-place for me there's none; Here I stay, and make my moan.

Ferns upon the hills abound; Ke and e in marshy ground. Each can boast its proper place, Where it grows for use or grace. I can only sing the woe, Which, ill-starred, I undergo.

On the Alienation of a Friend

Gently and soft the east wind blows, And then there falls the pelting rain. When anxious fears pressed round you close, Then linked together were we twain. Now happy, and your mind at rest, You turn and cast me from your breast.

Gently and soft the east wind blows, And then there comes the whirlwind wild. When anxious fears pressed round you close, Your bosom held me as a child. Now happy, and in peaceful state, You throw me off and quite forget.

Gently and soft the east wind blows, Then round the rocky height it storms. Each plant its leaves all dying shows; The trees display their withered forms. My virtues great forgotten all, You keep in mind my faults, though small.



A Picture of Husbandry

Various the toils which fields so large demand! We choose the seed; we take our tools in hand. In winter for our work we thus prepare; Then in the spring, bearing the sharpened 'share, We to the acres go that south incline, And to the earth the different seeds consign. Soon, straight and large, upward each plant aspires;— All happens as our noble lord desires.

The plants will ear; within their sheath confined, The grains will harden, and be good in kind. Nor darnel these, nor wolf's-tail grass infests; From core and leaf we pick the insect pests, And pick we those that eat the joints and roots:— So do we guard from harm the growing fruits. May the great Spirit, whom each farmer names, Those insects take, and cast them to the flames!

The clouds o'erspread the sky in masses dense, And gentle rain down to the earth dispense. First may the public fields the blessing get, And then with it our private fields we wet! Patches of unripe grain the reaper leaves; And here and there ungathered are the sheaves. Handfuls besides we drop upon the ground, And ears untouched in numbers lie around;—

These by the poor and widows shall be found. When wives and children to the toilers come, Bringing provisions from each separate home, Our lord of long descent shall oft appear; The Inspector also, glad the men to cheer. They too shall thank the Spirits of the air, With sacrifices pure for all their care; Now red, now black, the victims that they slay, As North or South the sacrifice they pay; While millet bright the altars always show;— And we shall thus still greater blessings know.

The Complaint of an Officer

O Heaven above, before whose light Revealed is every deed and thought, To thee I cry. Hither on toilsome service brought, In this wild K'ew I watch time's flight, And sadly sigh. The second month had just begun, When from the east we took our way. Through summer hot We passed, and many a wintry day. Summer again its course has run. O bitter lot! There are my compeers, gay at court, While here the tears my face begrime. I'd fain return— But there is that dread net for crime! The fear of it the wish cuts short. In vain I burn!

Ere we the royal city left, The sun and moon renewed the year. We marched in hope. Now to its close this year is near. Return deferred, of hope bereft, All mourn and mope. My lonesome state haunts aye my breast, While duties grow, and cares increase, Too hard to bear.

Toils that oppress me never cease; Not for a moment dare I rest, Nigh to despair. I think with fond regard of those, Who in their posts at court remain, My friends of old. Fain would I be with them again, But fierce reproof return would cause. This post I hold.

When for the West I left my home, The sun and moon both mildly shone, Our hearts to cheer. We'd soon be back, our service done! Alas! affairs more urgent come, And fix us here. The year is hastening to expire. We gather now the southern-wood, The beans we reap;— That for its fragrance, these for food. Such things that constant care require Me anxious keep. Thinking of friends still at their posts, I rise and pass the night outside, So vexed my mind. But soon what changes may betide? I here will stay, whate'er it costs, And be resigned.

My honored friends, O do not deem Your rest which seems secure from ill Will ever last! Your duties quietly fulfil, And hold the upright in esteem, With friendship fast. So shall the Spirits hear your cry, You virtuous make, and good supply, In measure vast.

My honored friends, O do not deem Repose that seems secure from ill Will lasting prove. Your duties quietly fulfil, And hold the upright in esteem, With earnest love. So shall the Spirits hear your prayer, And on you happiness confer, Your hopes above.



The Rejoicings of a Bridegroom

With axle creaking, all on fire I went, To fetch my young and lovely bride. No thirst or hunger pangs my bosom rent— I only longed to have her by my side. I feast with her, whose virtue fame had told, Nor need we friends our rapture to behold.

The long-tailed pheasants surest covert find, Amid the forest on the plain. Here from my virtuous bride, of noble mind, And person tall, I wisdom gain. I praise her while we feast, and to her say, "The love I bear you ne'er will know decay.

"Poor we may be; spirits and viands fine My humble means will not afford. But what we have, we'll taste and not repine; From us will come no grumbling word. And though to you no virtue I can add, Yet we will sing and dance, in spirit glad.

"I oft ascend that lofty ridge with toil, And hew large branches from the oaks; Then of their leafy glory them I spoil, And fagots form with vigorous strokes. Returning tired, your matchless grace I see, And my whole soul dissolves in ecstasy.

"To the high hills I looked, and urged each steed; The great road next was smooth and plain.

Up hill, o'er dale, I never slackened speed; Like lute-string sounded every rein. I knew, my journey ended, I should come To you, sweet bride, the comfort of my home."

Against Listening to Slanderers

Like the blueflies buzzing round, And on the fences lighting, Are the sons of slander found, Who never cease their biting. O thou happy, courteous king, To the winds their slanders fling.

Buzzing round the blueflies hear, About the jujubes flocking! So the slanderers appear, Whose calumnies are shocking. By no law or order bound, All the kingdom they confound.

How they buzz, those odious flies, Upon the hazels clust'ring! And as odious are the lies Of those slanderers blust'ring. Hatred stirred between us two Shows the evil they can do.



In Praise of By-gone Simplicity

In the old capital they stood, With yellow fox-furs plain, Their manners all correct and good, Speech free from vulgar stain. Could we go back to Chow's old days, All would look up to them with praise.

In the old capital they wore T'ae hats and black caps small; And ladies, who famed surnames bore, Their own thick hair let fall. Such simple ways are seen no more, And the changed manners I deplore.

Ear-rings, made of plainest gold, In the old days were worn. Each lady of a noble line A Yin or Keih seemed born. Such officers and ladies now I see not and my sorrows grow.

With graceful sweep their girdles fell, Then in the days of old. The ladies' side-hair, with a swell, Like scorpion's tail, rose bold. Such, if I saw them in these days, I'd follow with admiring gaze.

So hung their girdles, not for show;— To their own length 'twas due. 'Twas not by art their hair curled so;— By nature so it grew. I seek such manners now in vain, And pine for them with longing pain.

[NOTE.—Yin and Keih were clan names of great families, the ladies of which would be leaders of fashion in the capital.]

A Wife Bemoans Her Husband's Absence

So full am I of anxious thought, Though all the morn king-grass I've sought, To fill my arms I fail. Like wisp all-tangled is my hair! To wash it let me home repair. My lord soon may I hail!

Though 'mong the indigo I've wrought The morning long; through anxious thought My skirt's filled but in part. Within five days he was to appear; The sixth has come and he's not here. Oh! how this racks my heart!

When here we dwelt in union sweet, If the hunt called his eager feet, His bow I cased for him. Or if to fish he went away, And would be absent all the day, His line I put in trim.

What in his angling did he catch? Well worth the time it was to watch How bream and tench he took. Men thronged upon the banks and gazed; At bream and tench they looked amazed, The triumphs of his hook.

The Earl of Shaou's Work

As the young millet, by the genial rain Enriched, shoots up luxuriant and tall, So, when we southward marched with toil and pain, The Earl of Shaou cheered and inspired us all.

We pushed our barrows, and our burdens bore; We drove our wagons, and our oxen led. "The work once done, our labor there is o'er, And home we travel," to ourselves we said.

Close kept our footmen round the chariot track; Our eager host in close battalions sped. "When once our work is done, then we go back, Our labor over," to themselves they said.

Hard was the work we had at Seay to do, But Shaou's great earl the city soon upreared. The host its service gave with ardor true;— Such power in all the earl's commands appeared!

We did on plains and low lands what was meet; We cleared the springs and streams, the land to drain. The Earl of Shaou announced his work complete, And the King's heart reposed, at rest again.

The Plaint of King Yew's Forsaken Wife

The fibres of the white-flowered rush Are with the white grass bound. So do the two together go, In closest union found. And thus should man and wife abide, The twain combined in one; But this bad man sends me away, And bids me dwell alone.

Both rush and grass from the bright clouds The genial dew partake.

Kind and impartial, nature's laws No odious difference make. But providence appears unkind; Events are often hard. This man, to principle untrue, Denies me his regard.

Northward the pools their waters send, To flood each paddy field; So get the fields the sap they need, Their store of rice to yield. But that great man no deed of grace Deigns to bestow on me. My songs are sighs. At thought of him My heart aches wearily.

The mulberry branches they collect, And use their food to cook; But I must use a furnace small, That pot nor pan will brook. So me that great man badly treats, Nor uses as his wife, Degrades me from my proper place, And fills with grief my life.

The bells and drums inside the court Men stand without and hear; So should the feelings in my breast, To him distinct appear. All-sorrowful, I think of him, Longing to move his love; But he vouchsafes no kind response; His thoughts far from me rove.

The marabow stands on the dam, And to repletion feeds; The crane deep in the forest cries, Nor finds the food it needs. So in my room the concubine By the great man is placed; While I with cruel banishment Am cast out and disgraced.

The yellow ducks sit on the dam, With left wing gathered low; So on each other do they lean, And their attachment show. And love should thus the man and wife In closest concord bind; But that man turns away from me, And shows a fickle mind.

When one stands on a slab of stone, No higher than the ground, Nothing is added to his height;— Low with the stone he's found. So does the favorite's mean estate Render that great man mean, While I by him, to distance sent, Am pierced with sorrow keen.


A few gourd leaves that waved about Cut down and boiled;—the feast how spare! But the good host his spirits takes, Pours out a cup, and proves them rare.

A single rabbit on the mat, Or baked, or roast:—how small the feast! But the good host his spirits takes, And fills the cup of every guest.

A single rabbit on the mat, Roasted or broiled:—how poor the meal! But the guests from the spirit vase Fill their host's cup, and drink his weal.

A single rabbit on the mat, Roasted or baked:—no feast we think! But from the spirit vase they take, Both host and guests, and joyous drink.

On the Misery of Soldiers

Yellow now is all the grass; All the days in marching pass. On the move is every man; Hard work, far and near, they plan.

Black is every plant become; Every man is torn from home. Kept on foot, our state is sad;— As if we no feelings had!

Not rhinoceroses we! Tigers do we care to be? Fields like these so desolate Are to us a hateful fate.

Long-tailed foxes pleased may hide 'Mong the grass, where they abide. We, in box carts slowly borne, On the great roads plod and mourn.




Celebrating King Wan

The royal Wan now rests on high, Enshrined in brightness of the sky. Chow as a state had long been known, And Heaven's decree at last was shown. Its lords had borne a glorious name; God kinged them when the season came. King Wan ruled well when earth he trod; Now moves his spirit near to God.

A strong-willed, earnest king was Wan, And still his fame rolls widening on. The gifts that God bestowed on Chow Belong to Wan's descendants now. Heaven blesses still with gifts divine The hundred scions of his line; And all the officers of Chow From age to age more lustrous grow.

More lustrous still from age to age, All reverent plans their zeal engage; And brilliant statesmen owe their birth To this much-favored spot of earth. They spring like products of the land— The men by whom the realm doth stand. Such aid their numerous bands supply, That Wan rests tranquilly on high.

Deep were Wan's thoughts, sustained his ways; His reverence lit its trembling rays. Resistless came great Heaven's decree; The sons of Shang must bend the knee;— The sons of Shang, each one a king, In numbers beyond numbering. Yet as God spoke, so must it be:— The sons of Shang all bent the knee.

Now each to Chow his homage pays— So dark and changing are Heaven's ways. When we pour our libations here, The officers of Shang appear, Quick and alert to give their aid:— Such is the service by them paid, While still they do not cast aside The cap and broidered axe—their pride. Ye servants of our line of kings, Remember him from whom it springs.

Remember him from whom it springs;— Let this give to your virtue wings. Seek harmony with Heaven's great mind;— So shall you surest blessing find. Ere Shang had lost the nation's heart, Its monarchs all with God had part In sacrifice. From them you see 'Tis hard to keep high Heaven's decree.

'Tis hard to keep high Heaven's decree! O sin not, or you cease to be. To add true lustre to your name, See Shang expire in Heaven's dread flame. For Heaven's high dealings are profound, And far transcend all sense and sound. From Wan your pattern you must draw, And all the States will own your law.

[Book II. is omitted]



King Seuen on the Occasion of a Great Drought

Grand shone the Milky Way on high, With brilliant span athwart the sky, Nor promise gave of rain. King Seuen long gazed; then from him broke, In anguished tones the words he spoke. Well might he thus complain! "O Heaven, what crimes have we to own, That death and ruin still come down? Relentless famine fills our graves. Pity the king who humbly craves! Our miseries never cease. To every Spirit I have vowed; The choicest victim's blood has flowed. As offerings I have freely paid My store of gems and purest jade. Hear me, and give release!

"The drought consumes us. As on wing Its fervors fly, and torment bring. With purest mind and ceaseless care My sacrifices I prepare. At thine own border altars, Heaven, And in my father's fane, I've given What might relief have found. What Powers above, below, have sway, To all my precious gifts I pay, Then bury in the ground. Yes, every Spirit has received Due honor, and, still unrelieved, Our sufferings greater grow. How-tseih can't give the needed aid, And help from God is still delayed! The country lies a ruined waste. O would that I alone might taste This bitter cup of woe!

"The drought consumes us. Nor do I To fix the blame on others try. I quake with dread; the risk I feel, As when I hear the thunders peal, Or fear its sudden crash. Our black-haired race, a remnant now, Will every one be swept from Chow, As by the lightning's flash. Nor I myself will live alone. God from his great and heavenly throne Will not spare even me. O friends and officers, come, blend Your prayers with mine; come, lowly bend. Chow's dynasty will pass away; Its altars at no distant day In ruins all shall be!

"The drought consumes us. It keeps on Its fatal course. All hope is gone. The air more fierce and fiery glows. Where can I fly? Where seek repose? Death marks me for its prey. Above, no saving hand! Around, No hope, no comfort, can be found. The dukes and ministers of old Give us no help. Can ye withhold Your sympathy, who lately reigned? And parents, how are you restrained, In this so dreadful day?

"The drought consumes us. There on high The hills are parched. The streams are dry. Drought's demon stalks abroad in ire, And scatters wide his flames and fire. Alas, my woful heart! The fires within its strength consume; The heat without creates a gloom That from it will not part. The dukes and ministers by-gone Respond not to my prayer and moan. God in great Heaven, permission give That I may in retirement live, And try to heal my smart!

"The drought consumes us. Still I strive, And will not leave while I survive. Duty to shun I fear. Why upon me has come this drought? Vainly I try to search it out, Vainly, with quest severe. For a good harvest soon I prayed, Nor late the rites I duly paid, To Spirits of the air and land. There wanted nought they could demand, Their favor to secure. God in great heaven, be just, be kind! Thou dost not bear me in Thy mind. My cry, ye wisest Spirits, hear! Ye whom I constantly revere, Why do I this endure?

"The drought consumes us. People fly, And leave their homes. Each social tie And bond of rule is snapt. The Heads of Boards are all perplexed; My premier's mind is sorely vexed; In trouble all are wrapt. The Masters of my Horse and Guards; My cook, and men of different wards:— Not one has from the struggle shrunk. Though feeling weak, they have not sunk, But done their best to aid. To the great sky I look with pain;— Why do these grievous sorrows rain On my devoted head?

"Yes, at the mighty sky I gaze, And lo! the stars pursue their maze, And sparkle clear and bright. Ah! Heaven nor helps, nor seems to ken. Great officers and noble men, With all your powers ye well have striven, And reverently have sought from Heaven Its aid in our great fight. My death is near; but oh! keep on, And do as thus far you have done. Regard you only me? No, for yourselves and all your friends, On whom for rule the land depends, You seek security. I turn my gaze to the great sky;— When shall this drought be done, and I Quiet and restful be?"

[NOTE *: Selections from Book II. are omitted.—EDITOR.]




Appropriate to a Sacrifice to King Wan

My offerings here are given, A ram, a bull. Accept them, mighty Heaven, All-bountiful.

Thy statutes, O great king, I keep, I love; So on the realm to bring Peace from above.

From Wan comes blessing rich; Now on the right He owns those gifts to which Him I invite.

Do I not night and day, Revere great Heaven, That thus its favor may To Chow be given?

On Sacrificing to the Kings Woo, Ching, and K'ang

The arm of Woo was full of might; None could his fire withstand; And Ching and K'ang stood forth to sight, As kinged by God's own hand.

We err not when we call them sage. How grandly they maintained Their hold of all the heritage That Wan and Woo had gained!

As here we worship, they descend, While bells and drums resound, And stones and lutes their music blend. With blessings we are crowned.

The rites correctly we discharge; The feast we freely share. Those Sires Chow's glory will enlarge, And ever for it care.


[Translation by James Legge]


Nothing of great importance is known about Fa-hien in addition to what may be gathered from his own record of his travels. I have read the accounts of him in the "Memoirs of Eminent Monks," compiled in A.D. 519, and a later work, the "Memoirs of Marvellous Monks," by the third emperor of the Ming dynasty (A.D. 1403-1424), which, however, is nearly all borrowed from the other; and all in them that has an appearance of verisimilitude can be brought within brief compass.

His surname, they tell us, was Kung, and he was a native of Wu-yang in P'ing-yang, which is still the name of a large department in Shan-hsi. He had three brothers older than himself; but when they all died before shedding their first teeth, his father devoted him to the service of the Buddhist society, and had him entered as a Sramanera, still keeping him at home in the family. The little fellow fell dangerously ill, and the father sent him to the monastery, where he soon got well and refused to return to his parents.

When he was ten years old, his father died; and an uncle, considering the widowed solitariness and helplessness of the mother, urged him to renounce the monastic life, and return to her, but the boy replied, "I did not quit the family in compliance with my father's wishes, but because I wished to be far from the dust and vulgar ways of life. This is why I choose monkhood." The uncle approved of his words and gave over urging him. When his mother also died, it appeared how great had been the affection for her of his fine nature; but after her burial he returned to the monastery.

On one occasion he was cutting rice with a score or two of his fellow-disciples, when some hungry thieves came upon them to take away their grain by force. The other Sramaneras all fled, but our young hero stood his ground, and said to the thieves, "If you must have the grain, take what you please. But, sirs, it was your former neglect of charity which brought you to your present state of destitution; and now, again, you wish to rob others. I am afraid that in the coming ages you will have still greater poverty and distress; I am sorry for you beforehand." With these words he followed his companions to the monastery, while the thieves left the grain and went away, all the monks, of whom there were several hundred, doing homage to his conduct and courage.

When he had finished his novitiate and taken on him the obligations of the full Buddhist orders, his earnest courage, clear intelligence, and strict regulation of his demeanor, were conspicuous; and soon after, he undertook his journey to India in search of complete copies of the Vinaya-pitaka. What follows this is merely an account of his travels in India and return to China by sea, condensed from his own narrative, with the addition of some marvellous incidents that happened to him, on his visit to the Vulture Peak near Rajagriha.

It is said in the end that after his return to China, he went to the capital (evidently Nanking), and there, along with the Indian Sramana Buddha-bhadra, executed translations of some of the works which he had obtained in India; and that before he had done all that he wished to do in this way, he removed to King-chow (in the present Hoo-pih), and died in the monastery of Sin, at the age of eighty-eight, to the great sorrow of all who knew him. It is added that there is another larger work giving an account of his travels in various countries.

Such is all the information given about our author, beyond what he has himself told us. Fa-hien was his clerical name, and means "Illustrious in the Law," or "Illustrious master of the Law." The Shih which often precedes it is an abbreviation of the name of Buddha as Sakyamuni, "the Sakya, mighty in Love, dwelling in Seclusion and Silence," and may be taken as equivalent to Buddhist. He is sometimes said to have belonged to "the eastern Tsin dynasty" (A.D. 317-419), and sometimes to "the Sung," that is, the Sung dynasty of the House of Liu (A.D. 420-478). If he became a full monk at the age of twenty, and went to India when he was twenty-five, his long life may have been divided pretty equally between the two dynasties.

If there were ever another and larger account of Fa-hien's travels than the narrative of which a translation is now given, it has long ceased to be in existence.

In the catalogue of the imperial library of the Suy dynasty (A.D. 589-618), the name Fa-hien occurs four times. Towards the end of the last section of it, after a reference to his travels, his labors in translation at Kin-ling (another name for Nanking), in conjunction with Buddha-bhadra, are described. In the second section we find "A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms"—with a note, saying that it was the work of "the Sramana, Fa-hien"; and again, we have "Narrative of Fa-hien in two Books," and "Narrative of Fa-hien's Travels in one Book." But all these three entries may possibly belong to different copies of the same work, the first and the other two being in separate subdivisions of the catalogue.

In the two Chinese copies of the narrative in my possession the title is "Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms." In the Japanese or Corean recension the title is twofold; first, "Narrative of the Distinguished Monk, Fa-hien"; and then, more at large, "Incidents of Travels in India, by the Sramana of the Eastern Tsin, Fa-hien, recorded by himself."

There is still earlier attestation of the existence of our little work than the Suy catalogue. The "Catalogue Raisonne" of the imperial library of the present dynasty mentions two quotations from it by Le Tao-yueen, a geographical writer of the dynasty of the Northern Wei (A.D. 386-584), one of them containing eighty-nine characters, and the other two hundred and seventy-six; both of them given as from the "Narrative of Fa-hien."

In all catalogues subsequent to that of Suy our work appears. The evidence for its authenticity and genuineness is all that could be required. It is clear to myself that the "Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms" and the "Narrative of his Travels by Fa-hien" were designations of one and the same work, and that it is doubtful whether any larger work on the same subject was ever current. With regard to the text subjoined to my translation, it was published in Japan in 1779. The editor had before him four recensions of the narrative; those of the Sung and Ming dynasties, with appendices on the names of certain characters in them; that of Japan; and that of Corea. He wisely adopted the Corean text, published in accordance with a royal rescript in 1726, so far as I can make out; but the different readings of the other texts are all given in top-notes, instead of foot-notes as with us, this being one of the points in which customs in the East and West go by contraries. Very occasionally, the editor indicates by a single character, equivalent to "right" or "wrong," which reading in his opinion is to be preferred.

The editors of the "Catalogue Raisonne" intimate their doubts of the good taste and reliability of all Fa-hien's statements. It offends them that he should call central India the "Middle Kingdom," and China, which to them was the true and only Middle Kingdom, but "a Border-land"—it offends them as the vaunting language of a Buddhist writer, whereas the reader will see in the expressions only an instance of what Fa-hien calls his "simple straightforwardness."

As an instance of his unreliability they refer to his account of the Buddhism of Khoten, whereas it is well-known, they say, that the Khoteners from ancient times till now have been Mohammedans;—as if they could have been so one hundred and seventy years before Mohammed was born, and two hundred twenty-two years before the year of the Hegira! And this is criticism in China. The catalogue was ordered by the K'ien-lung emperor in 1722. Between three and four hundred of the "Great Scholars" of the empire were engaged on it in various departments, and thus egregiously ignorant did they show themselves of all beyond the limits of their own country, and even of the literature of that country itself.

Much of what Fa-hien tells his readers of Buddhist miracles and legends is indeed unreliable and grotesque; but we have from him the truth as to what he saw and heard.

In concluding this introduction I wish to call attention to some estimates of the number of Buddhists in the world which have become current, believing, as I do, that the smallest of them is much above what is correct.

In a note on the first page of his work on the Bhilsa Topes (1854), General Cunningham says: "The Christians number about two hundred and seventy millions; the Buddhists about two hundred and twenty-two millions, who are distributed as follows: China one hundred and seventy millions, Japan twenty-five millions, Anam fourteen millions, Siam three millions, Ava eight millions, Nepal one million, and Ceylon one million." In his article on M.J. Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire's "Le Bouddha et sa Religion," republished in his "Chips from a German workshop," vol. i. (1868), Professor Max Mueller says, "The young prince became the founder of a religion which, after more than two thousand years, is still professed by four hundred and fifty-five millions of human beings," and he appends the following note: "Though truth is not settled by majorities, it would be interesting to know which religion counts at the present moment the largest numbers of believers. Berghaus, in his 'Physical Atlas,' gives the following division of the human race according to religion: 'Buddhists 31.2 per cent., Christians 30.7, Mohammedans 15.7, Brahmanists 13.4, Heathens 8.7, and Jews O.3.' As Berghaus does not distinguish the Buddhists in China from the followers of Confucius and Laotse, the first place on the scale belongs really to Christianity. It is difficult in China to say to what religion a man belongs, as the same person may profess two or three. The emperor himself, after sacrificing according to the ritual of Confucius, visits a Tao-tse temple, and afterwards bows before an image of Fo in a Buddhist chapel." ("Melanges Asiatiques de St. Petersbourg," vol. ii. p. 374.)

Both these estimates are exceeded by Dr. T.W. Rhys Davids (intimating also the uncertainty of the statements, and that numbers are no evidence of truth) in the introduction to his "Manual of Buddhism." The Buddhists there appear as amounting in all to five hundred millions:—thirty millions of Southern Buddhists, in Ceylon, Burma, Siam, Anam, and India (Jains); and four hundred and seventy millions of Northern Buddhists, of whom nearly thirty-three millions are assigned to Japan, and 414,686,974 to the eighteen provinces of China proper. According to him, Christians amount to about 26 per cent, of mankind, Hindus to about 13, Mohammedans to about 12-1/2, Buddhists to about 40, and Jews to about one-half of one per cent.

In regard to all these estimates, it will be observed that the immense numbers assigned to Buddhism are made out by the multitude of Chinese with which it is credited. Subtract Cunningham's one hundred and seventy millions of Chinese from his total of two hundred and twenty-two millions, and there remain only fifty-two millions of Buddhists. Subtract Davids's four hundred fourteen and one-half millions of Chinese from his total of five hundred millions, and there remain only eighty-five and one-half millions for Buddhism. Of the numbers assigned to other countries, as well as of their whole populations, I am in considerable doubt, excepting in the cases of Ceylon and India; but the greatness of the estimates turns upon the immense multitudes said to be in China. I do not know what total population Cunningham allowed for that country, nor on what principle he allotted one hundred and seventy millions of it to Buddhism; perhaps he halved his estimate of the whole, whereas Berghaus and Davids allotted to it the highest estimates that have been given of the people.

But we have no certain information of the population of China. At an interview with the former Chinese ambassador, Kwo Sung-tao, in Paris, in 1878, I begged him to write out for me the amount, with the authority for it, and he assured me that it could not be done. I have read probably almost everything that has been published on the subject, and endeavored by methods of my own to arrive at a satisfactory conclusion;—without reaching a result which I can venture to lay before the public. My impression has been that four hundred millions is hardly an exaggeration.

But supposing that we had reliable returns of the whole population, how shall we proceed to apportion that among Confucianists, Taoists, and Buddhists? Confucianism is the orthodoxy of China. The common name for it is Ju Chiao, "the Doctrines held by the Learned Class," entrance into the circle of which is, with a few insignificant exceptions, open to all the people. The mass of them and the masses under their influence are preponderatingly Confucian; and in the observance of ancestral worship, the most remarkable feature of the religion proper of China from the earliest times, of which Confucius was not the author but the prophet, an overwhelming majority are regular and assiduous.

Among "the strange principles" which the emperor of the K'ang-hsi period, in one of his famous Sixteen Precepts, exhorted his people to "discountenance and put away, in order to exalt the correct doctrine," Buddhism and Taoism were both included. If, as stated in the note quoted from Professor Mueller, the emperor countenances both the Taoist worship and the Buddhist, he does so for reasons of state; to please especially his Buddhistic subjects in Thibet and Mongolia, and not to offend the many whose superstitious fancies incline to Taoism.

When I went out and in as a missionary among the Chinese people for about thirty years, it sometimes occurred to me that only the inmates of their monasteries and the recluses of both systems should be enumerated as Buddhists and Taoists; but I was in the end constrained to widen that judgment, and to admit a considerable following of both among the people, who have neither received the tonsure nor assumed the yellow top. Dr. Eitel, in concluding his discussion of this point in his "Lecture on Buddhism, an Event in History," says: "It is not too much to say that most Chinese are theoretically Confucianists, but emotionally Buddhists or Taoists. But fairness requires us to add that, though the mass of the people are more or less influenced by Buddhist doctrines, yet the people, as a whole, have no respect for the Buddhist church, and habitually sneer at Buddhist priests." For the "most" in the former of these two sentences I would substitute "nearly all;" and between my friend's "but" and "emotionally" I would introduce "many are," and would not care to contest his conclusion further. It does seem to me preposterous to credit Buddhism with the whole of the vast population of China, the great majority of whom are Confucianists. My own opinion is that its adherents are not so many as those even of Mohammedanism, and that instead of being the most numerous of the religions (so-called) of the world, it is only entitled to occupy the fifth place, ranking below Christianity, Confucianism, Brahmanism, and Mohammedanism, and followed, some distance off, by Taoism. To make a table of percentages of mankind, and to assign to each system its proportion, are to seem to be wise where we are deplorably ignorant; and, moreover, if our means of information were much better than they are, our figures would merely show the outward adherence. A fractional percentage might tell more for one system than a very large integral one for another.




From Ch'ang-gan to the Sandy Desert

Fa-Hien had been living in Ch'ang-gan. [1] Deploring the mutilated and imperfect state of the collection of the Books of Discipline, in the second year of the period Hwang-che, being the Ke-hae year of the cycle, [2] he entered into an engagement with Hwuy-king, Tao-ching, Hwuy-ying, and Hwuy-wei, that they should go to India and seek for the Disciplinary Rules.

After starting from Ch'ang-gan, they passed through Lung, [3] and came to the kingdom of K'een-kwei,[4] where they stopped for the summer retreat. When that was over, they went forward to the kingdom of Now-t'an, crossed the mountain of Yang-low, and reached the emporium of Chang-yih.[5] There they found the country so much disturbed that travelling on the roads was impossible for them. Its king, however, was very attentive to them, kept them in his capital, and acted the part of their danapati.[6]

Here they met with Che-yen, Hwuy-keen, Sang-shao, Pao-yun, and Sang-king; and in pleasant association with them, as bound on the same journey with themselves, they passed the summer retreat of that year [7] together, resuming after it their travelling, and going on to T'un-hwang, [8] the chief town in the frontier territory of defence extending for about eighty li from east to west, and about forty from north to south. Their company, increased as it had been, halted there for some days more than a month, after which Fa-hien and his four friends started first in the suite of an envoy, having separated for a time from Pao-yun and his associates.

Le Hao, the prefect of Tun-hwang, had supplied them with the means of crossing the desert before them, in which there are many evil demons and hot winds. Travellers who encounter them perish all to a man. There is not a bird to be seen in the air above, nor an animal on the ground below. Though you look all round most earnestly to find where you can cross, you know not where to make your choice, the only mark and indication being the dry bones of the dead left upon the sand.

[Footnote 1: Ch'ang-gan is still the name of the principal district (and its city) in the department of Se-gan, Shen-se. It had been the capital of the first empire of Han (B.C. 202 A.D. 24), as it subsequently was that of Suy (A.D. 589-618).]

[Footnote 2: The period Hwang-che embraced from A.D. 399 to 414, being the greater portion of the reign of Yao Hing of the After Ts'in, a powerful prince. He adopted Hwang-che for the style of his reign in 399, and the cyclical name of that year was Kang-tsze. It is not possible at this distance of time to explain, if it could be explained, how Fa-hien came to say that Ke-hae was the second year of the period. It seems most reasonable to suppose that he set out on his pilgrimage in A.D. 399, the cycle name of which was Ke-hae. In the "Memoirs of Eminent Monks" it is said that our author started in the third year of the period Lung-gan of the Eastern Ts'in, which was A.D. 399.]

[Footnote 3: Lung embraced the western part of Shen-se and the eastern part of Kan-suh. The name remains in Lung Chow, in the extreme west of Shen-se.]

[Footnote 4: K'een-kwei was the second king of "the Western Ts'in." Fa-hien would find him at his capital, somewhere in the present department of Lan-chow, Kan-suh.]

[Footnote 5: Chang-yih is still the name of a district in Kan-chow department, Kan-suh. It is a long way north and west from Lan-chow, and not far from the Great Wall. Its king at this time was, probably, Twan-yeh of "the northern Leang."]

[Footnote 6: Dana is the name for religious charity, the first of the six paramitas, or means of attaining to nirvana; and a danapati is "one who practises dana and thereby crosses the sea of misery."]

[Footnote 7: This was the second summer since the pilgrims left Ch'ang-gan. We are now, therefore, probably, in A.D. 400.]

[Footnote 8: T'un-hwang is still the name of one of the two districts constituting the department of Gan-se, the most western of the prefectures of Kan-suh; beyond the termination of the Great Wall.]


On to Shen-shen and thence to Khoten

After travelling for seventeen days, a distance we may calculate of about 1500 li, the pilgrims reached the kingdom of Shen-shen, a country rugged and hilly, with a thin and barren soil. The clothes of the common people are coarse, and like those worn in our land of Han, [1] some wearing felt and others coarse serge or cloth of hair; this was the only difference seen among them. The king professed our Law, and there might be in the country more than four thousand monks, who were all students of the hinayana. [2] The common people of this and other kingdoms in that region, as well as the Sramans, [3] all practise the rules of India, only that the latter do so more exactly, and the former more loosely. So the travellers found it in all the kingdoms through which they went on their way from this to the west, only that each had its own peculiar barbarous speech. The monks, however, who had given up the worldly life and quitted their families, were all students of Indian books and the Indian language. Here they stayed for about a month, and then proceeded on their journey, fifteen days' walking to the northwest bringing them to the country of Woo-e. In this also there were more than four thousand monks, all students of the hinayana. They were very strict in their rules, so that Sramans from the territory of Ts'in were all unprepared for their regulations. Fa-hien, through the management of Foo Kung-sun, maitre d'hotellerie, was able to remain with his company in the monastery where they were received for more than two months, and here they were rejoined by Pao-yun and his friends. At the end of that time the people of Woo-e neglected the duties of propriety and righteousness, and treated the strangers in so niggardly a manner that Che-yen, Hwuy-keen, and Hwuy-wei went back towards Kao-ch'ang, hoping to obtain there the means of continuing their journey. Fa-hien and the rest, however, through the liberality of Foo Kung-sun, managed to go straight forward in a southwest direction. They found the country uninhabited as they went along. The difficulties which they encountered in crossing the streams and on their route, and the sufferings which they endured, were unparalleled in human experience, but in the course of a month and five days they succeeded in reaching Yu-teen.

[Footnote 1: This is the name which Fa-hien always uses when he would speak of China, his native country, as a whole, calling it from the great dynasty which had ruled it, first and last, for between four and five centuries. Occasionally, as we shall immediately see, he speaks of "the territory of Ts'in or Ch'in," but intending thereby only the kingdom of Ts'in, having its capital in Ch'ang-gan.]

[Footnote 2: Meaning the "small vehicle, or conveyance." There are in Buddhism the triyana, or "three different means of salvation, i.e. of conveyance across the samsara, or sea of transmigration, to the shores of nirvana. Afterwards the term was used to designate the different phases of development through which the Buddhist dogma passed, known as the mahayana, hinayana, and madhyamayana." "The hinayana is the simplest vehicle of salvation, corresponding to the first of the three degrees of saintship." E.H., pp. 151-2, 45, and 117.]

[Footnote 3: "Sraman" may in English take the place of Sramana, the name for Buddhist monks, as those who have separated themselves from (left) their families, and quieted their hearts from all intrusion of desire and lust.]


Khoten—Processions of Images

Yu-Teen is a pleasant and prosperous kingdom, with a numerous and flourishing population. The inhabitants all profess our Law, and join together in its religious music for their enjoyment. The monks amount to several myriads, most of whom are students of the mahayana. [1] They all receive their food from the common store. Throughout the country the houses of the people stand apart like separate stars, and each family has a small tope [2] reared in front of its door. The smallest of these may be twenty cubits high, or rather more. They make in the monasteries rooms for monks from all quarters, the use of which is given to travelling monks who may arrive, and who are provided with whatever else they require.

The lord of the country lodged Fa-hien and the others comfortably, and supplied their wants, in a monastery called Gomati, of the mahayana school. Attached to it there are three thousand monks, who are called to their meals by the sound of a bell. When they enter the refectory, their demeanor is marked by a reverent gravity, and they take their seats in regular order, all maintaining a perfect silence. No sound is heard from their alms-bowls and other utensils. When any of these pure men require food, they are not allowed to call out to the attendants for it, but only make signs with their hands.

Hwuy-king, Tao-ching, and Hwuy-tah set out in advance towards the country of K'eeh-ch'a; but Fa-hien and the others, wishing to see the procession of images, remained behind for three months. There are in this country four great monasteries, not counting the smaller ones. Beginning on the first day of the fourth month, they sweep and water the streets inside the city, making a grand display in the lanes and byways. Over the city gate they pitch a large tent, grandly adorned in all possible ways, in which the king and queen, with their ladies brilliantly arrayed, take up their residence for the time.

The monks of the Gomati monastery, being mahayana students, and held in greatest reverence by the king, took precedence of all the others in the procession. At a distance of three or four li from the city, they made a four-wheeled image car, more than thirty cubits high, which looked like the great hall of a monastery moving along. The seven precious substances [3] were grandly displayed about it, with silken streamers and canopies hanging all around. The chief image stood in the middle of the car, with two Bodhisattvas [4] in attendance on it, while devas were made to follow in waiting, all brilliantly carved in gold and silver, and hanging in the air. When the car was a hundred paces from the gate, the king put off his crown of state, changed his dress for a fresh suit, and with bare feet, carrying in his hands flowers and incense, and with two rows of attending followers, went out at the gate to meet the image; and, with his head and face bowed to the ground, he did homage at its feet, and then scattered the flowers and burnt the incense. When the image was entering the gate, the queen and the brilliant ladies with her in the gallery above scattered far and wide all kinds of flowers, which floated about and fell promiscuously to the ground. In this way everything was done to promote the dignity of the occasion. The carriages of the monasteries were all different, and each one had its own day for the procession. The ceremony began on the first day of the fourth month, and ended on the fourteenth, after which the king and queen returned to the palace.

Seven or eight li to the west of the city there is what is called the King's new monastery, the building of which took eighty years, and extended over three reigns. It may be two hundred and fifty cubits in height, rich in elegant carving and inlaid work, covered above with gold and silver, and finished throughout with a combination of all the precious substances. Behind the tope there has been built a Hall of Buddha, of the utmost magnificence and beauty, the beams, pillars, venetianed doors and windows, being all overlaid with gold-leaf. Besides this, the apartments for the monks are imposingly and elegantly decorated, beyond the power of words to express. Of whatever things of highest value and preciousness the kings in the six countries on the east of the Ts'ung range of mountains are possessed, they contribute the greater portion to this monastery, using but a small portion of them themselves.

[Footnote 1: Mahayana is a later form of the Buddhist doctrine, the second phase of its development corresponding to the state of a Bodhisattva, who, being able to transport himself and all mankind to nirvana, may be compared to a huge vehicle.]

[Footnote 2: A worshipping place, an altar, or temple.]

[Footnote 3: The Sapta-ratna, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, rock crystal, rubies, diamonds or emeralds, and agate.]

[Footnote 4: A Bodhisattva is one whose essence has become intelligence; a Being who will in some future birth as a man (not necessarily or usually the next) attain to Buddhahood. The name does not include those Buddhas who have not yet attained to parinirvana. The symbol of the state is an elephant fording a river.]


Through the Ts'ung Mountains to K'eech-ch'a

When the processions of images in the fourth month were over, Sang-shao, by himself alone, followed a Tartar who was an earnest follower of the Law, and proceeded towards Ko-phene. Fa-hien and the others went forward to the kingdom of Tsze-hoh, which it took them twenty-five days to reach. Its king was a strenuous follower of our Law, and had around him more than a thousand monks, mostly students of the mahayana. Here the travellers abode fifteen days, and then went south for four days, when they found themselves among the Ts'ung-ling mountains, and reached the country of Yu-hwuy, where they halted and kept their retreat. [1] When this was over, they went on among the hills for twenty-five days, and got to K'eeh-ch'a, there rejoining Hwuy-king and his two companions.

[Footnote 1: This was the retreat already twice mentioned as kept by the pilgrims in the summer, the different phraseology, "quiet rest," without any mention of the season, indicating their approach to India. Two, if not three, years had elapsed since they left Ch'ang-gan. Are we now with them in 402?]


Great Quinquennial Assembly of Monks

It happened that the king of the country was then holding the pancha parishad; that is, in Chinese, the great quinquennial assembly. When this is to be held, the king requests the presence of the Sramans from all quarters of his kingdom. They come as if in clouds; and when they are all assembled, their place of session is grandly decorated. Silken streamers and canopies are hung out in it, and water-lilies in gold and silver are made and fixed up behind the places where the chief of them are to sit. When clean mats have been spread, and they are all seated, the king and his ministers present their offerings according to rule and law. The assembly takes place in the first, second, or third month, for the most part in the spring.

After the king has held the assembly, he further exhorts the ministers to make other and special offerings. The doing of this extends over one, two, three, five, or even seven days; and when all is finished, he takes his own riding-horse, saddles, bridles, and waits on him himself, while he makes the noblest and most important minister of the kingdom mount him. Then, taking fine white woollen cloth, all sorts of precious things, and articles which the Sramans require, he distributes them among them, uttering vows at the same time along with all his ministers; and when this distribution has taken place, he again redeems whatever he wishes from the monks.

The country, being among the hills and cold, does not produce the other cereals, and only the wheat gets ripe. After the monks have received their annual portion of this, the mornings suddenly show the hoar-frost, and on this account the king always begs the monks to make the wheat ripen [1] before they receive their portion. There is in the country a spittoon which belonged to Buddha, made of stone, and in color like his alms-bowl. There is also a tooth of Buddha, for which the people have reared a tope, connected with which there are more than a thousand monks and their disciples, all students of the hinayana. To the east of these hills the dress of the common people is of coarse materials, as in our country of Ts'in, but here also there were among them the differences of fine woollen cloth and of serge or haircloth. The rules observed by the Sramans are remarkable, and too numerous to be mentioned in detail. The country is in the midst of the Onion range. As you go forward from these mountains, the plants, trees, and fruits are all different from those of the land of Han, excepting only the bamboo, pomegranate, and sugarcane.

[Footnote 1: Watters calls attention to this as showing that the monks of K'eeh-ch'a had the credit of possessing weather-controlling powers.]


North India—Image of Maitreya Bodhisattva

From this the travellers went westward towards North India, and after being on the way for a month, they succeeded in getting across and through the range of the Onion mountains. The snow rests on them both winter and summer. There are also among them venomous dragons, which, when provoked, spit forth poisonous winds, and cause showers of snow and storms of sand and gravel. Not one in ten thousand of those who encounter these dangers escapes with his life. The people of the country call the range by the name of "The Snow mountains." When the travellers had got through them, they were in North India, and immediately on entering its borders, found themselves in a small kingdom called T'oleih, where also there were many monks, all students of the hinayana.

In this kingdom there was formerly an Arhan, [1] who by his supernatural power took a clever artificer up to the Tushita [2] heaven, to see the height, complexion, and appearance of Maitreya Bodhisattva, [3] and then return and make an image of him in wood. First and last, this was done three times, and then the image was completed, eighty cubits in height, and eight cubits at the base from knee to knee of the crossed legs. On fast-days it emits an effulgent light. The kings of the surrounding countries vie with one another in presenting offerings to it. Here it is—to be seen now as of old.

[Footnote 1: Lo-han, Arhat, Arahat are all designations of the perfected Arya, the disciple who has passed the different stages of the Noble Path, or eightfold excellent way, who has conquered all passions, and is not to be reborn again. Arhatship implies possession of certain supernatural powers, and is not to be succeeded by Buddhaship, but implies the fact of the saint having already attained Nirvana.]

[Footnote 2: Tushita is the fourth Devaloka, where all Bodhisattvas are reborn before finally appearing on earth as Buddha. Life lasts in Tushita four thousand years, but twenty-four hours there are equal to four hundred years on earth.]

[Footnote 3: Maitreya was a Bodhisattva, the principal one, indeed, of Sakyamuni's retinue, but is not counted among the ordinary disciples, nor is anything told of his antecedents. It was in the Tushita heaven that Sakyamuni met him and appointed him as his successor, to appear as Buddha after the lapse of five thousand years. Maitreya is therefore the expected Messiah of the Buddhists, residing at present in Tushita.]


The Perilous Crossing of the Indus

The travellers went on to the southwest for fifteen days at the foot of the mountains, and following the course of their range. The way was difficult and rugged, running along a bank exceedingly precipitous, which rose up there, a hill-like wall of rock, ten thousand cubits from the base. When one approached the edge of it, his eyes became unsteady; and if he wished to go forward in the same direction, there was no place on which he could place his foot; and beneath were the waters of the river called the Indus. In former times men had chiselled paths along the rocks, and distributed ladders on the face of them, to the number altogether of seven hundred, at the bottom of which there was a suspension bridge of ropes, by which the river was crossed, its banks being there eighty paces apart. The place and arrangements are to be found in the Records of the Nine Interpreters, but neither Chang K'een [1] nor Kan Ying [2] had reached the spot.

The monks asked Fa-hien if it could be known when the Law of Buddha first went to the east. He replied, "When I asked the people of those countries about it, they all said that it had been handed down by their fathers from of old that, after the setting up of the image of Maitreya Bodhisattva, there were Sramans of India who crossed this river, carrying with them Sutras and Books of Discipline. Now the image was set up rather more than three hundred years after the Nirvana of Buddha, which may be referred to the reign of king P'ing of the Chow dynasty. According to this account we may say that the diffusion of our great doctrines in the East began from the setting up of this image. If it had not been through that Maitreya, the great spiritual master who is to be the successor of the Sakya, who could have caused the 'Three Precious Ones,' [3] to be proclaimed so far, and the people of those border lands to know our Law? We know of a truth that the opening of the way for such a mysterious propagation is not the work of man; and so the dream of the emperor Ming of Han had its proper cause."

[Footnote 1: Chang K'een, a minister of the emperor Woo of Han (B.C. 140-87), is celebrated as the first Chinese who "pierced the void," and penetrated to "the regions of the west," corresponding very much to the present Turkestan. Through him, by B.C. 115, a regular intercourse was established between China and the thirty-six kingdoms or states of that quarter.]

[Footnote 2: Less is known of Kan Ying than of Chang K'een. Being sent in A.D. 88 by his patron Pan Chao on an embassy to the Roman empire, he only got as far as the Caspian sea, and returned to China. He extended, however, the knowledge of his countrymen with regard to the western regions.]

[Footnote 3: "The precious Buddha," "the precious Law," and "the precious Monkhood"; Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha; the whole being equivalent to Buddhism.]


Woo-chang, or Udyana—Traces of Buddha

After crossing the river, the travellers immediately came to the kingdom of Woo-chang, which is indeed a part of North India. The people all use the language of Central India, "Central India" being what we should call the "Middle Kingdom." The food and clothes of the common people are the same as in that Central Kingdom. The Law of Buddha is very flourishing in Woo-chang. They call the places where the monks stay for a time or reside permanently Sangharamas; and of these there are in all five hundred, the monks being all students of the hinayana. When stranger bhikshus [1] arrive at one of them, their wants are supplied for three days, after which they are told to find a resting-place for themselves.

There is a tradition that when Buddha came to North India, he came at once to this country, and that here he left a print of his foot, which is long or short according to the ideas of the beholder on the subject. It exists, and the same thing is true about it, at the present day. Here also are still to be seen the rock on which he dried his clothes, and the place where he converted the wicked dragon. The rock is fourteen cubits high, and more than twenty broad, with one side of it smooth.

Hwuy-king, Hwuy-tah, and Tao-ching went on ahead towards the place of Buddha's shadow in the country of Nagara; but Fa-hien and the others remained in Woo-chang, and kept the summer retreat. That over, they descended south, and arrived in the country of Soo-ho-to.

[Footnote 1: Bhikshu is the name for a monk as "living by alms," a mendicant. All bhikshus call themselves Sramans. Sometimes the two names are used together by our author.]


Soo-ho-to—Legends of Buddha

In that country also Buddhism is flourishing. There is in it the place where Sakra, [1] Ruler of Devas, in a former age, tried the Bodhisattva, by producing a hawk in pursuit of a dove, when the Bodhisattva cut off a piece of his own flesh, and with it ransomed the dove. After Buddha had attained to perfect wisdom, and in travelling about with his disciples arrived at this spot, he informed them that this was the place where he ransomed the dove with a piece of his own flesh. In this way the people of the country became aware of the fact, and on the spot reared a tope, adorned with layers of gold and silver plates.

[Footnote 1: Sakra is a common name for the Brahmanic Indra, adopted by Buddhism into the circle of its own great adherents;—it has been said, "because of his popularity." He is now the representative of the secular power, the valiant protector of the Buddhist body, but is looked upon as inferior to Sakyamuni, and every Buddhist saint.]


Gandhara—Legends of Buddha

The travellers, going downwards from this towards the east, in five days came to the country of Gandhara, the place where Dharma-vivardhana, the son of Asoka, [1] ruled. When Buddha was a Bodhisattva, he gave his eyes also for another man here; and at the spot they have also reared a large tope, adorned with layers of gold and silver plates. The people of the country were mostly students of the hinayana.

[Footnote 1: Asoka is here mentioned for the first time—the Constantine of the Buddhist society, and famous for the number of viharas and topes which he erected. He was the grandson of Chandragupta, a rude adventurer, who at one time was a refugee in the camp of Alexander the Great; and within about twenty years afterwards drove the Greeks out of India, having defeated Seleucus, the Greek ruler of the Indus provinces. His grandson was converted to Buddhism by the bold and patient demeanor of an Arhat whom he had ordered to be buried alive, and became a most zealous supporter of the new faith.]


Takshasila—Legends—The Four Great Topes

Seven days' journey from this to the east brought the travellers to the kingdom of Takshasila, which means "the severed head" in the language of China. Here, when Buddha was a Bodhisattva, he gave away his head to a man; and from this circumstance the kingdom got its name.

Going on further for two days to the east, they came to the place where the Bodhisattva threw down his body to feed a starving tigress. In these two places also large topes have been built, both adorned with layers of all the precious substances. The kings, ministers, and peoples of the kingdoms around vie with one another in making offerings at them. The trains of those who come to scatter flowers and light lamps at them never cease. The nations of those quarters call those and the other two mentioned before "the four great topes."


Buddha's Alms-bowl—Death of Hwuy-king

Going southwards from Gandhara, the travellers in four days arrived at the kingdom of Purushapura. [1] Formerly, when Buddha was travelling in this country with his disciples, he said to Ananda, [2] "After my pari-nirvana, [3] there will be a king named Kanishka, who shall on this spot build a tope."

This Kanishka was afterwards born into the world; and once, when he had gone forth to look about him, Sakra, Ruler of Devas, wishing to excite the idea in his mind, assumed the appearance of a little herd-boy, and was making a tope right in the way of the king, who asked what sort of a thing he was making. The boy said, "I am making a tope for Buddha." The king said, "Very good;" and immediately, right over the boy's tope, he proceeded to rear another, which was more than four hundred cubits high, and adorned with layers of all the precious substances. Of all the topes and temples which the travellers saw in their journeyings, there was not one comparable to this in solemn beauty and majestic grandeur. There is a current saying that this is the finest tope in Jambudvipa [4]. When the king's tope was completed, the little tope of the boy came out from its side on the south, rather more than three cubits in height.

Buddha's alms-bowl is in this country. Formerly, a king of Yueeh-she raised a large force and invaded this country, wishing to carry the bowl away. Having subdued the kingdom, as he and his captains were sincere believers in the Law of Buddha, and wished to carry off the bowl, they proceeded to present their offerings on a great scale. When they had done so to the Three Precious Ones, he made a large elephant be grandly caparisoned, and placed the bowl upon it. But the elephant knelt down on the ground, and was unable to go forward. Again he caused a four-wheeled wagon to be prepared in which the bowl was put to be conveyed away. Eight elephants were then yoked to it, and dragged it with their united strength; but neither were they able to go forward. The king knew that the time for an association between himself and the bowl had not yet arrived, and was sad and deeply ashamed of himself. Forthwith he built a tope at the place and a monastery, and left a guard to watch the bowl, making all sorts of contributions.

There may be there more than seven hundred monks. When it is near mid-day, they bring out the bowl, and, along with the common people, make their various offerings to it, after which they take their mid-day meal. In the evening, at the time of incense, they bring the bowl out again. It may contain rather more than two pecks, and is of various colors, black predominating, with the seams that show its fourfold composition distinctly marked. Its thickness is about the fifth of an inch, and it has a bright and glossy lustre. When poor people throw into it a few flowers, it becomes immediately full, while some very rich people, wishing to make offering of many flowers, might not stop till they had thrown in hundreds, thousands, and myriads of bushels, and yet would not be able to fill it.[5]

Pao-yun and Sang-king here merely made their offerings to the alms-bowl, and then resolved to go back. Hwuy-king, Hwuy-tah, and Tao-ching had gone on before the rest to Nagara, to make their offerings at the places of Buddha's shadow, tooth, and the flat-bone of his skull. There Hwuy-king fell ill, and Tao-ching remained to look after him, while Hwuy-tah came alone to Purushapura, and saw the others, and then he with Pao-yun and Sang-king took their way back to the land of Ts'in. Hwuy-king came to his end in the monastery of Buddha's alms-bowl, and on this Fa-hien went forward alone towards the place of the flat-bone of Buddha's skull.[6]

[Footnote 1: The modern Peshawur.]

[Footnote 2: A first cousin of Sakyamuni, and born at the moment when he attained to Buddhaship. Under Buddha's teaching, Ananda became an Arhat, and is famous for his strong and accurate memory; and he played an important part at the first council for the formation of the Buddhist canon. The friendship between Sakyamuni and Ananda was very close and tender; and it is impossible to read much of what the dying Buddha said to him and of him, as related in the Mahapari-nirvana Sutra, without being moved almost to tears. Ananda is to reappear on earth as Buddha in another Kalpa.]

[Footnote 3: On his attaining to nirvana, Sakyamuni became the Buddha, and had no longer to mourn his being within the circle of transmigration, and could rejoice in an absolute freedom from passion, and a perfect purity. Still he continued to live on for forty-five years, till he attained to pari-nirvana, and had done with all the life of sense and society, and had no more exercise of thought. He died; but whether he absolutely and entirely ceased to be, in any sense of the word being, it would be difficult to say. Probably he himself would not and could not have spoken definitely on the point. So far as our use of language is concerned, apart from any assured faith in and hope of immortality, his pari-nirvana was his death.]

[Footnote 4: Jambudvipa is one of the four great continents of the universe, representing the inhabited world as fancied by the Buddhists, and so-called because it resembles in shape the leaves of the jambu tree.]

[Footnote 5: Compare the narrative in Luke's Gospel, xxi. 1-4.]

[Footnote 6: This story of Hwuy-king's death differs from the account given in chapter xiv.—EDITOR.]


Festival of Buddha's Skull-bone

Going west for sixteen yojanas, [1] he came to the city He-lo [2] in the borders of the country of Nagara, where there is the flat-bone of Buddha's skull, deposited in a vihara [3] adorned all over with gold-leaf and the seven sacred substances. The king of the country, revering and honoring the bone, and anxious lest it should be stolen away, has selected eight individuals, representing the great families in the kingdom, and committed to each a seal, with which he should seal its shrine and guard the relic. At early dawn these eight men come, and after each has inspected his seal, they open the door. This done, they wash their hands with scented water and bring out the bone, which they place outside the vihara, on a lofty platform, where it is supported on a round pedestal of the seven precious substances, and covered with a bell of lapis lazuli, both adorned with rows of pearls. Its color is of a yellowish white, and it forms an imperfect circle twelve inches round, curving upwards to the centre. Every day, after it has been brought forth, the keepers of the vihara ascend a high gallery, where they beat great drums, blow conches, and clash their copper cymbals. When the king hears them, he goes to the vihara, and makes his offerings of flowers and incense. When he has done this, he and his attendants in order, one after another, raise the bone, place it for a moment on the top of their heads, and then depart, going out by the door on the west as they had entered by that on the east. The king every morning makes his offerings and performs his worship, and afterwards gives audience on the business of his government. The chiefs of the Vaisyas [4] also make their offerings before they attend to their family affairs. Every day it is so, and there is no remissness in the observance of the custom. When all of the offerings are over, they replace the bone in the vihara, where there is a vimoksha tope, of the seven precious substances, and rather more than five cubits high, sometimes open, sometimes shut, to contain it. In front of the door of the vihara, there are parties who every morning sell flowers and incense, and those who wish to make offerings buy some of all kinds. The kings of various countries are also constantly sending messengers with offerings. The vihara stands in a square of thirty paces, and though heaven should shake and earth be rent, this place would not move.

Going on, north from this, for a yojana, Fa-hien arrived at the capital of Nagara, the place where the Bodhisattva once purchased with money five stalks of flowers, as an offering to the Dipankara Buddha. In the midst of the city there is also the tope of Buddha's tooth, where offerings are made in the same way as to the flat-bone of his skull.

A yojana to the northeast of the city brought him to the mouth of a valley, where there is Buddha's pewter staff; and a vihara also has been built at which offerings are made. The staff is made of Gosirsha Chandana, and is quite sixteen or seventeen cubits long. It is contained in a wooden tube, and though a hundred or a thousand men were to try to lift it, they could not move it.

Entering the mouth of the valley, and going west, he found Buddha's Sanghali, [5] where also there is reared a vihara, and offerings are made. It is a custom of the country when there is a great drought, for the people to collect in crowds, bring out the robe, pay worship to it, and make offerings, on which there is immediately a great rain from the sky.

South of the city, half a yojana, there is a rock-cavern, in a great hill fronting the southwest; and here it was that Buddha left his shadow. Looking at it from a distance of more than ten paces, you seem to see Buddha's real form, with his complexion of gold, and his characteristic marks in their nicety, clearly and brightly displayed. The nearer you approach, however, the fainter it becomes, as if it were only in your fancy. When the kings from the regions all around have sent skilful artists to take a copy, none of them have been able to do so. Among the people of the country there is a saying current that "the thousand Buddhas must all leave their shadows here."

Rather more than four hundred paces west from the shadow, when Buddha was at the spot, he shaved off his hair and clipped his nails, and proceeded, along with his disciples, to build a tope seventy or eighty cubits high, to be a model for all future topes; and it is still existing. By the side of it there is a monastery, with more than seven hundred monks in it. At this place there are as many as a thousand topes of Arhans and Pratyeka Buddhas.

[Footnote 1: Now in India, Fa-hien used the Indian measure of distance; but it is not possible to determine exactly what its length then was. The estimates of it are very different, and vary from four and a half or five miles to seven, and sometimes more.]

[Footnote 2: The present Hidda, west of Peshawur, and five miles south of Jellalabad.]

[Footnote 3: "The vihara," says Hardy, "is the residence of a recluse or priest;" and so Davids—"the clean little hut where the mendicant lives."]

[Footnote 4: The Vaisyas, or the bourgeois caste of Hindu society, are described here as "resident scholars."]

[Footnote 5: Or Sanghati, the double or composite robe, part of a monk's attire, reaching from the shoulders to the knees, and fastened round the waist.]


Crossing the Indus to the East

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

[Footnote 1: Lo-e, or Rohi, or Afghanistan; only a portion of it can be intended.]

[Footnote 2: We are now therefore in A.D. 404.]


Sympathy of Monks with the Pilgrims

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


Condition and Customs of Central India

From this place they travelled southeast, passing by a succession of very many monasteries, with a multitude of monks, who might be counted by myriads. After passing all these places, they came to a country named Ma-t'aou-lo. They still followed the course of the P'oo-na river, on the banks of which, left and right, there were twenty monasteries, which might contain three thousand monks; and here the Law of Buddha was still more flourishing. Everywhere, from the Sandy Desert, in all the countries of India, the kings had been firm believers in that Law. When they make their offerings to a community of monks, they take off their royal caps, and along with their relatives and ministers, supply them with food with their own hands. That done, the king has a carpet spread for himself on the ground, and sits down on it in front of the chairman;—they dare not presume to sit on couches in front of the community. The laws and ways, according to which the kings presented their offerings when Buddha was in the world, have been handed down to the present day.

All south from this is named the Middle Kingdom. In it the cold and heat are finely tempered, and there is neither hoarfrost nor snow. The people are numerous and happy; they have not to register their households, or attend to any magistrates and their rules; only those who cultivate the royal land have to pay a portion of the gain from it. If they want to go they go; if they want to stay on, they stay. The king governs without decapitation or other corporal punishments. Criminals are simply fined, lightly or heavily, according to the circumstances of each case. Even in cases of repeated attempts at wicked rebellion, they only have their right hands cut off. The king's body-guards and attendants all have salaries. Throughout the whole country the people do not kill any living creature, nor drink intoxicating liquor, nor eat onions or garlic. The only exception is that of the Chandalas. That is the name for those who are held to be wicked men, and live apart from others. When they enter the gate of a city or a market-place, they strike a piece of wood to make themselves known, so that men know and avoid them, and do not come into contact with them. In that country they do not keep pigs and fowls, and do not sell live cattle; in the markets there are no butchers' shops and no dealers in intoxicating drink. In buying and selling commodities they use cowries. Only the Chandalas are fishermen and hunters, and sell flesh meat.

After Buddha attained to pari-nirvana the kings of the various countries and the heads of the Vaisyas 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, so that afterwards they were handed down from king to king, without any one daring to annul them, and they remain even to the present time.

The regular business of the monks is to perform acts of meritorious virtue, and to recite their Sutras and sit wrapped in meditation. When stranger monks arrive at any monastery, the old residents meet and receive them, carry for them their clothes and alms-bowl, give them water to wash their feet, oil with which to anoint them, and the liquid food permitted out of the regular hours. [1] When the stranger has enjoyed a very brief rest, they further ask the number of years that he has been a monk, after which he receives a sleeping apartment with its appurtenances, according to his regular order, and everything is done for him which the rules prescribe.

Where a community of monks resides, they erect topes to Sariputtra, [2] to Maha-maudgalyayana, [3] and to Ananda, and also topes in honor of the Abhidharma, [4] the Vinaya, [4] and the Sutras. [4] A month after the annual season of rest, the families which are looking out for blessing stimulate one another to make offerings to the monks, and send round to them the liquid food which may be taken out of the ordinary hours. All the monks come together in a great assembly, and preach the Law; after which offerings are presented at the tope of Sariputtra, with all kinds of flowers and incense. All through the night lamps are kept burning, and skilful musicians are employed to perform.

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 Kas'yapa also did the same. The bhikshunis [5] for the most part make their offerings at the tope of Ananda, because it was he who requested the World-honored one to allow females to quit their families and become nuns. The Sramaneras [6] mostly make their offerings to Rahula. [7] The professors of the Abhidharma make their offerings to it; those of the Vinaya to it. Every year there is one such offering, and each class has its own day for it. Students of the mahayana present offerings to the Prajna-paramita, to Manjus'ri, and to Kwan-she-yin. When the monks have done receiving their annual tribute from the harvests, the Heads of the Vaisyas and all the Brahmans bring clothes and such other articles as the monks require for use, and distribute among them. The monks, having received them, also proceed to give portions to one another. From the nirvana of Buddha, the forms of ceremony, laws, and rules, practised by the sacred communities, have been handed down from one generation to another without interruption.

From the place where the travellers crossed the Indus to South India, and on to the Southern Sea, a distance of forty or fifty thousand li, all is level plain. There are no large hills with streams among them; there are simply the waters of the rivers.

[Footnote 1: No monk can eat solid food except between sunrise and noon, and total abstinence from intoxicating drinks is obligatory. Food eaten at any other part of the day is called vikala, and forbidden; but a weary traveller might receive unseasonable refreshment, consisting of honey, butter, treacle, and sesamum oil.]

[Footnote 2: Sariputtra was one of the principal disciples of Buddha, and indeed the most learned and ingenious of them all.]

[Footnote 3: Mugalan, the Singhalese name of this disciple, is more pronounceable. He also was one of the principal disciples, called Buddha's "left-hand attendant." He was distinguished for his power of vision, and his magic powers.]

[Footnote 4: The different parts of the tripitaka.]

[Footnote 5: The bhikshunis are the female monks or nuns, subject to the same rules as the bhikshus, and also to special ordinances of restraint.]

[Footnote 6: The Sramaneras are the novices, male or female, who have vowed to observe the Shikshapada, or ten commandments.]

[Footnote 7: 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.]


Legend of the Trayastrimsas Heaven

From this they proceeded southeast for eighteen yojanas, and found themselves in a kingdom called Sankas'ya, at the place where Buddha came down, after ascending to the Trayastrims'as heaven [1], and there preaching for three months his Law for the benefit of his mother [2]. Buddha had gone up to this heaven by his supernatural power, without letting his disciples know; but seven days before the completion of the three months he laid aside his invisibility, and Anuruddha [3], with his heavenly eyes, saw the World-honored one, and immediately said to the honored one, the great Mugalan, "Do you go and salute the World-honored one," Mugalan forthwith went, and with head and face did homage at Buddha's feet. They then saluted and questioned each other, and when this was over, Buddha said to Mugalan, "Seven days after this I will go down to 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-honored one.

Then the bhikshuni Utpala thought in her heart, "To-day the kings, with their ministers and people, will all be meeting and welcoming Buddha. I am but a woman; how shall I succeed in being the first to see him?" Buddha immediately, by his spirit-like power, changed her into the appearance of a holy Chakravartti king, and she was the foremost of all in doing reverence to him.

As Buddha descended from his position aloft in the Trayastrims'as heaven, when he was coming down, there were made to appear three flights of precious steps. Buddha was on the middle flight, the steps of which were composed of the seven precious substances. The king of Brahma-loka [4] also made a flight of silver steps appear on the right side, where he was seen attending with a white chowry in his hand. Sakra, Ruler of Devas, made a flight of steps of purple gold on the left side, where he was seen attending and holding an umbrella of the seven precious substances. An innumerable multitude of the devas followed Buddha in his descent. When he was come down, the three flights all disappeared in the ground, excepting seven steps, which continued to be visible. Afterwards king As'oka, wishing to know where their ends rested, sent men to dig and see. They went down to the yellow springs without reaching the bottom of the steps, and from this the king received an increase to his reverence and faith, and built a 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, with a lion on the top of it. [5] Let into the pillar, on each of its four sides, there is an image of Buddha, inside and out shining and transparent, and pure as it were of lapis lazuli. Some teachers of another doctrine once disputed with the S'ramanas about the right to this as a place of residence, and the latter were having the worst of the argument, when they took an oath on both sides on the condition that, if the place did indeed belong to the S'ramanas, there should be some marvellous attestation of it. When these words had been spoken, the lion on the top gave a great roar, thus giving the proof; on which their opponents were frightened, bowed to the decision, and withdrew.

Through Buddha having for three months partaken of the food of heaven, his body emitted a heavenly fragrance, unlike that of an ordinary man. He went immediately and bathed; and afterwards, at the spot where he did so, a bathing-house was built, which is still existing. At the place where the bhikshuni Utpala was the first to do reverence to Buddha, a tope has now been built.

At the places where Buddha, when he was in the world, cut his hair and nails, topes are erected; and where the three Buddhas [6] that preceded S'akyamuni Buddha and he himself sat; where they walked, and where images of their persons were made. At all these places topes were made, and are still existing. At the place where S'akra, Ruler of the Devas, and the king of the Brahma-loka followed Buddha down from the Trayastrimsas heaven they have also raised a tope.

At this place the monks and nuns may be a thousand, who all receive their food from the common store, and pursue their studies, some of the mahayana and some of the 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, with white spots at the side of its ears. As soon as the monks recognize it, they fill a copper vessel with cream, into which they put the creature, and then carry it round from the one who has the highest seat at their tables to him who has the lowest, when it appears as if saluting them. When it has been taken round, immediately it disappears; and every year it thus comes forth once. The country is very productive, and the people are prosperous, and happy beyond comparison. When people of other countries come to it, they are exceedingly attentive to them all, and supply them with what they need.

Fifty yojanas northwest from the monastery there is another, called "The Great Heap." Great Heap was the name of a wicked demon, who was converted by Buddha, and men subsequently at this place reared a vihara. When it was being made over to an Arhat by pouring water on his hands, some drops fell on the ground. They are still on the spot, and however they may be brushed away and removed, they continue to be visible, and cannot be made to disappear.

At this place there is also a tope to Buddha, where a good spirit constantly keeps all about it swept and watered, without any labor of man being required. A king of corrupt views once said, "Since you are able to do this, I will lead a multitude of troops and reside there till the dirt and filth has increased and accumulated, and see whether you can cleanse it away or not." The spirit thereupon raised a great wind, which blew the filth away, and made the place pure.

At this place there are many small topes, at which a man may keep counting a whole day without being able to know their exact number. If he be firmly bent on knowing it, he will place a man by the side of each tope. When this is done, proceeding to count the number of the men, whether they be many or few, he will not get to know the number. [7]

There is a monastery, containing perhaps six hundred or seven hundred monks, in which there is a place where a Pratyeka Buddha used to take his food. The nirvana ground where he was burned after death is as large as a carriage wheel; and while grass grows all around, on this spot there is none. The ground also where he dried his clothes produces no grass, but the impression of them, where they lay on it, continues to the present day.

[Footnote 1: The heaven of Indra or Sakya, meaning "the heaven of thirty-three classes," a name which has been explained both historically and mythologically. "The description of it," says Eitel, "tallies in all respects with the Svarga of Brahmanic mythology. It is situated between the four peaks of the Meru, and consists of thirty-two cities of devas, eight on each of the four corners of the mountain. Indra's capital of Bellevue is in the centre. There he is enthroned, with a thousand heads and a thousand eyes, and four arms grasping the vajra, with his wife and 119,000 concubines. There he receives the monthly reports of the four Maharajas, concerning the progress of good and evil in the world," etc., etc.]

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