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 Kwuy-king, Tao-ching, Hwuy-ying, and Hwuy-wei,[3] that they should go to India and seek for the Disciplinary Rules.[4]

After starting from Ch'ang-gan, they passed through Lung,[5] and came to the kingdom of K'een-kwei,[6] where they stopped for the summer retreat.[7] When that was over, they went forward to the kingdom of Now-t'an,[8] crossed the mountain of Yang-low, and reached the emporium of Chang-yih.[9] 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.[10]

Here they met with Che-yen, Hwuy-keen, Sang-shao, Pao-yun, and Sang- king;[11] and in pleasant association with them, as bound on the same journey with themselves, they passed the summer retreat (of that year)[12] together, resuming after it their travelling, and going on to T'un-hwang,[13] (the chief town) in the frontier territory of defence extending for about 80 le from east to west, and about 40 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,[14] having separated (for a time) from Pao-yun and his associates.

Le Hao,[15] the prefect of T'un-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).[16]


[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). The empire of the eastern Tsin, towards the close of which Fa-hien lived, had its capital at or near Nan-king, and Ch'ang-gan was the capital of the principal of the three Ts'in kingdoms, which, with many other minor ones, maintained a semi- independence of Tsin, their rulers sometimes even assuming the title of emperor.

[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, as {.}, the second year, instead of {.}, the first, might easily creep into the text. 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 Tsin, which was A.D. 399.

[3] These, like Fa-hien itself, are all what we might call "clerical" names, appellations given to the parties as monks or sramanas.

[4] The Buddhist tripitaka or canon consists of three collections, containing, according to Eitel (p. 150), "doctrinal aphorisms (or statements, purporting to be from Buddha himself); works on discipline; and works on metaphysics:"--called sutra, vinaya, and abhidharma; in Chinese, king {.}, leuh {.}, and lun {.}, or texts, laws or rules, and discussions. Dr. Rhys Davids objects to the designation of "metaphysics" as used of the abhidharma works, saying that "they bear much more the relation to 'dharma' which 'by-law' bears to 'law' than that which 'metaphysics' bears to 'physics'" (Hibbert Lectures, p. 49). However this be, it was about the vinaya works that Fa-hien was chiefly concerned. He wanted a good code of the rules for the government of "the Order" in all its internal and external relations.

[5] 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.

[6] K'een-kwei was the second king of "the Western Ts'in." His family was of northern or barbarous origin, from the tribe of the Seen-pe, with the surname of K'eih-fuh. The first king was Kwo-kin, and received his appointment from the sovereign of the chief Ts'in kingdom in 385. He was succeeded in 388 by his brother, the K'een-kwei of the text, who was very prosperous in 398, and took the title of king of Ts'in. Fa-hien would find him at his capital, somewhere in the present department of Lan-chow, Kan-suh.

[7] Under varshas or vashavasana (Pali, vassa; Spence Hardy, vass), Eitel (p. 163) says:--"One of the most ancient institutions of Buddhist discipline, requiring all ecclesiastics to spend the rainy season in a monastery in devotional exercises. Chinese Buddhists naturally substituted the hot season for the rainy (from the 16th day of the 5th to the 15th of the 9th Chinese month)."

[8] During the troubled period of the Tsin dynasty, there were five (usurping) Leang sovereignties in the western part of the empire ({.} {.}). The name Leang remains in the department of Leang-chow in the northern part of Kan-suh. The "southern Leang" arose in 397 under a Tuh-fah Wu-ku, who was succeeded in 399 by a brother, Le-luh-koo; and he again by his brother, the Now-t'an of the text, in 402, who was not yet king therefore when Fa-hien and his friends reached his capital. How he is represented as being so may be accounted for in various ways, of which it is not necessary to write.

[9] 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."

[10] 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." It is given as "a title of honour to all who support the cause of Buddhism by acts of charity, especially to founders and patrons of monasteries;"--see Eitel, p. 29.

[11] Of these pilgrims with their clerical names, the most distinguished was Pao-yun, who translated various Sanskrit works on his return from India, of which only one seems to be now existing. He died in 449. See Nanjio's Catalogue of the Tripitaka, col. 417.

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

[13] T'un-hwang (lat. 39d 40s N.; lon. 94d 50s E.) 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.

[14] Who this envoy was, and where he was going, we do not know. The text will not admit of any other translation.

[15] Le Hao was a native of Lung-se, a man of learning, able and kindly in his government. He was appointed governor or prefect of T'un-hwang by the king of "the northern Leang," in 400; and there he sustained himself, becoming by and by "duke of western Leang," till he died in 417.

[16] "The river of sand;" the great desert of Kobi or Gobi; having various other names. It was a great task which the pilgrims had now before them,--to cross this desert. The name of "river" in the Chinese misleads the reader, and he thinks of crossing it as of crossing a stream; but they had to traverse it from east to west. In his "Vocabulary of Proper Names," p. 23, Dr. Porter Smith says:--"It extends from the eastern frontier of Mongolia, south-westward to the further frontier of Turkestan, to within six miles of Ilchi, the chief town of Khoten. It thus comprises some twenty-three degrees of longitude in length, and from three to ten degrees of latitude in breadth, being about 2,100 miles in its greatest length. In some places it is arable. Some idea may be formed of the terror with which this 'Sea of Sand,' with its vast billows of shifting sands, is regarded, from the legend that in one of the storms 360 cities were all buried within the space of twenty-four hours." So also Gilmour's "Among the Mongols," chap. 5.



After travelling for seventeen days, a distance we may calculate of about 1500 le, (the pilgrims) reached the kingdom of Shen-shen,[1] 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,[2] 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,[3] who were all students of the hinayana.[4] The common people of this and other kingdoms (in that region), as well as the sramans,[5] all practise the rules of India,[6] 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.[7] (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 north-west bringing them to the country of Woo-e.[8] 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[9] were all unprepared for their regulations. Fa-hien, through the management of Foo Kung-sun, /maitre d'hotellerie/,[10] 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.[11] (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,[12] 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 south-west 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.[13]


[1] An account is given of the kingdom of Shen-shen in the 96th of the Books of the first Han dynasty, down to its becoming a dependency of China, about B.C. 80. The greater portion of that is now accessible to the English reader in a translation by Mr. Wylie in the "Journal of the Anthropological Institute," August, 1880. Mr. Wylie says:-- "Although we may not be able to identify Shen-shen with certainty, yet we have sufficient indications to give an appropriate idea of its position, as being south of and not far from lake Lob." He then goes into an exhibition of those indications, which I need not transcribe. It is sufficient for us to know that the capital city was not far from Lob or Lop Nor, into which in lon. 38d E. the Tarim flows. Fa-hien estimated its distance to be 1500 le from T'un-hwang. He and his companions must have gone more than twenty-five miles a day to accomplish the journey in seventeen days.

[2] 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 or Ts'in, having its capital, as described in the first note on the last chapter, in Ch'ang-gan.

[3] So I prefer to translate the character {.} (sang) rather than by "priests." Even in Christianity, beyond the priestly privilege which belongs to all believers, I object to the ministers of any denomination or church calling themselves or being called "priests;" and much more is the name inapplicable to the sramanas or bhikshus of Buddhism which acknowledges no God in the universe, no soul in man, and has no services of sacrifice or prayer in its worship. The only difficulty in the use of "monks" is caused by the members of the sect in Japan which, since the middle of the fifteenth century, has abolished the prohibition against marrying on the part of its ministers, and other prohibitions in diet and dress. Sang and sang-kea represent the Sanskrit sangha, constituted by at least four members, and empowered to hear confession, to grant absolution, to admit persons to holy orders, secondly, the third constituent of the Buddhistic Trinity, a deification of the /communio sanctorum/, or the Buddhist order. The name is used by our author of the monks collectively or individually as belonging to the class, and may be considered as synonymous with the name sramana, which will immediately claim our attention.

[4] 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. Characteristics of it are the preponderance of active moral asceticism, and the absence of speculative mysticism and quietism." E. H., pp. 151-2, 45, and 117.

[5] The name for India is here the same as in the former chapter and throughout the book,--T'een-chuh ({.} {.}), the chuh being pronounced, probably, in Fa-hien's time as tuk. How the earliest name for India, Shin-tuk or duk=Scinde, came to be changed into Thien-tuk, it would take too much space to explain. I believe it was done by the Buddhists, wishing to give a good auspicious name to the fatherland of their Law, and calling it "the Heavenly Tuk," just as the Mohammedans call Arabia "the Heavenly region" ({.} {.}), and the court of China itself is called "the Celestial" ({.} {.}).

[6] Sraman may in English take the place of Sramana (Pali, Samana; in Chinese, Sha-man), 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. "It is employed, first, as a general name for ascetics of all demoninations, and, secondly, as a general designation of Buddhistic monks." E. H., pp. 130, 131.

[7] Tartar or Mongolian.

[8] Woo-e has not been identified. Watters ("China Review," viii. 115) says:--"We cannot be far wrong if we place it in Kharaschar, or between that and Kutscha." It must have been a country of considerable size to have so many monks in it.

[9] This means in one sense China, but Fa-hien, in his use of the name, was only thinking of the three Ts'in states of which I have spoken in a previous note; perhaps only of that from the capital of which he had himself set out.

[10] This sentence altogether is difficult to construe, and Mr. Watters, in the "China Review," was the first to disentangle more than one knot in it. I am obliged to adopt the reading of {.} {.} in the Chinese editions, instead of the {.} {.} in the Corean text. It seems clear that only one person is spoken of as assisting the travellers, and his name, as appears a few sentences farther on, was Foo Kung-sun. The {.} {.} which immediately follows the surname Foo {.}, must be taken as the name of his office, corresponding, as the {.} shows, to that of /le maitre d'hotellerie/ in a Roman Catholic abbey. I was once indebted myself to the kind help of such an officer at a monastery in Canton province. The Buddhistic name for him is uddesika=overseer. The Kung-sun that follows his surname indicates that he was descended from some feudal lord in the old times of the Chow dynasty. We know indeed of no ruling house which had the surname of Foo, but its adoption by the grandson of a ruler can be satisfactorily accounted for; and his posterity continued to call themselves Kung-sun, duke or lord's grandson, and so retain the memory of the rank of their ancestor.

[11] Whom they had left behind them at T'un-hwang.

[12] The country of the Ouighurs, the district around the modern Turfan or Tangut.

[13] Yu-teen is better known as Khoten. Dr. P. Smith gives (p. 11) the following description of it:--"A large district on the south-west of the desert of Gobi, embracing all the country south of Oksu and Yarkand, along the northern base of the Kwun-lun mountains, for more than 300 miles from east to west. The town of the same name, now called Ilchi, is in an extensive plain on the Khoten river, in lat. 37d N., and lon. 80d 35s E. After the Tungani insurrection against Chinese rule in 1862, the Mufti Haji Habeeboolla was made governor of Khoten, and held the office till he was murdered by Yakoob Beg, who became for a time the conqueror of all Chinese Turkestan. Khoten produces fine linen and cotton stuffs, jade ornaments, copper, grain, and fruits." The name in Sanskrit is Kustana. (E. H., p. 60).





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.[1] The monks amount to several myriads, most of whom are students of the mahayana.[2] They all receive their food from the common store.[3] Throughout the country the houses of the people stand apart like (separate) stars, and each family has a small tope[4] reared in front of its door. The smallest of these may be twenty cubits high, or rather more.[5] They make (in the monasteries) rooms for monks from all quarters,[5] 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[6] called Gomati,[6] 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 demeanour 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[7] 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;[8] but Fa-hien and the others, wishing to see the procession of images, remained behind for three months. There are in this country four[9] 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,[10] take up their residence (for the time).

The monks of the Gomati monastery, being mahayana students, and held in great reverence by the king, took precedence of all others in the procession. At a distance of three or four le 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[11] were grandly displayed about it, with silken streamers and canopies hanging all around. The (chief) image[12] stood in the middle of the car, with two Bodhisattvas[13] in attendance upon it, while devas[14] 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 le 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 250 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,[15] 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[16] are possessed, they contribute the greater portion (to this monastery), using but a small portion of them themselves.[17]


[1] This fondness for music among the Khoteners is mentioned by Hsuan and Ch'wang and others.

[2] Mahayana. It 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. See Davids on the "Key-note of the 'Great Vehicle,'" Hibbert Lectures, p. 254.

[3] Fa-hien supplies sufficient information of how the common store or funds of the monasteries were provided, farther on in chapters xvi and xxxix, as well as in other passages. As the point is important, I will give here, from Davids' fifth Hibbert Lecture (p. 178), some of the words of the dying Buddha, taken from "The Book of the Great Decease," as illustrating the statement in this text:--"So long as the brethren shall persevere in kindness of action, speech, and thought among the saints, both in public and private; so long as they shall divide without partiality, and share in common with the upright and holy, all such things as they receive in accordance with the just provisions of the order, down even to the mere contents of a begging bowl; . . . so long may the brethren be expected not to decline, but to prosper."

[4] The Chinese {.} (t'ah; in Cantonese, t'ap), as used by Fa-hien, is, no doubt, a phonetisation of the Sanskrit stupa or Pali thupa; and it is well in translating to use for the structures described by him the name of topes,--made familiar by Cunningham and other Indian antiquarians. In the thirteenth chapter there is an account of one built under the superintendence of Buddha himself, "as a model for all topes in future." They were usually in the form of bell-shaped domes, and were solid, surmounted by a long tapering pinnacle formed with a series of rings, varying in number. But their form, I suppose, was often varied; just as we have in China pagodas of different shapes. There are several topes now in the Indian Institute at Oxford, brought from Buddha Gaya, but the largest of them is much smaller than "the smallest" of those of Khoten. They were intended chiefly to contain the relics of Buddha and famous masters of his Law; but what relics could there be in the Tiratna topes of chapter xvi?

[5] The meaning here is much disputed. The author does not mean to say that the monk's apartments were made "square," but that the monasteries were made with many guest-chambers or spare rooms.

[6] The Sanskrit term for a monastery is used here,--Sangharama, "gardens of the assembly," originally denoting only "the surrounding park, but afterwards transferred to the whole of the premises" (E. H., p. 118). Gomati, the name of this monastery, means "rich in cows."

[7] A denomination for the monks as vimala, "undefiled" or "pure." Giles makes it "the menials that attend on the monks," but I have not met with it in that application.

[8] K'eeh-ch'a has not been clearly identified. Remusat made it Cashmere; Klaproth, Iskardu; Beal makes it Kartchou; and Eitel, Khas'a, "an ancient tribe on the Paropamisus, the Kasioi of Ptolemy." I think it was Ladak, or some well-known place in it. Hwuy-tah, unless that name be an alias, appears here for the first time.

[9] Instead of "four," the Chinese copies of the text have "fourteen;" but the Corean reading is, probably, more correct.

[10] There may have been, as Giles says, "maids of honour;" but the character does not say so.

[11] The Sapta-ratna, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, rock crystal, rubies, diamonds or emeralds, and agate. See Sacred Books of the East (Davids' Buddhist Suttas), vol. xi., p. 249.

[12] No doubt that of Sakyamuni himself.

[13] 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 pari-nirvana. The symbol of the state is an elephant fording a river. Popularly, its abbreviated form P'u-sa is used in China for any idol or image; here the name has its proper signification.

[14] {.} {.}, "all the thien," or simply "the thien" taken as plural. But in Chinese the character called thien {.} denotes heaven, or Heaven, and is interchanged with Ti and Shang Ti, meaning God. With the Buddhists it denotes the devas or Brahmanic gods, or all the inhabitants of the six devalokas. The usage shows the antagonism between Buddhism and Brahmanism, and still more that between it and Confucianism.

[15] Giles and Williams call this "the oratory of Buddha." But "oratory" gives the idea of a small apartment, whereas the name here leads the mind to think of a large "hall." I once accompanied the monks of a large monastery from their refectory to the Hall of Buddha, which was a lofty and spacious apartment splendidly fitted up.

[16] The Ts'ung, or "Onion" range, called also the Belurtagh mountains, including the Karakorum, and forming together the connecting links between the more northern T'een-shan and the Kwun-lun mountains on the north of Thibet. It would be difficult to name the six countries which Fa-hien had in mind.

[17] This seems to be the meaning here. My first impression of it was that the author meant to say that the contributions which they received were spent by the monks mainly on the buildings, and only to a small extent for themselves; and I still hesitate between that view and the one in the version.

There occurs here the binomial phrase kung-yang {.} {.}, which is one of the most common throughout the narrative, and is used not only of support in the way of substantial contributions given to monks, monasteries, and Buddhism, but generally of all Buddhistic worship, if I may use that term in the connexion. Let me here quote two or three sentences from Davids' Manual (pp. 168-170):--"The members of the order are secured from want. There is no place in the Buddhist scheme for churches; the offering of flowers before the sacred tree or image of the Buddha takes the place of worship. Buddhism does not acknowledge the efficacy of prayers; and in the warm countries where Buddhists live, the occasional reading of the law, or preaching of the word, in public, can take place best in the open air, by moonlight, under a simple roof of trees or palms. There are five principal kinds of meditation, which in Buddhism takes the place of prayer."



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,[1] and proceeded towards Kophene.[2] Fa-hien and the others went forward to the kingdom of Tsze-hoh, which it took them twenty-five days to reach.[3] Its king was a strenuous follower of our Law,[4] 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,[5] where they halted and kept their retreat.[6] When this was over, they went on among the hills[7] for twenty-five days, and got to K'eeh- ch'a,[8] there rejoining Hwuy-king[9] and his two companions.


[1] This Tartar is called a {.} {.}, "a man of the Tao," or faith of Buddha. It occurs several times in the sequel, and denotes the man who is not a Buddhist outwardly only, but inwardly as well, whose faith is always making itself manifest in his ways. The name may be used of followers of other systems of faith besides Buddhism.

[2] See the account of the kingdom of Kophene, in the 96th Book of the first Han Records, p. 78, where its capital is said to be 12,200 le from Ch'ang-gan. It was the whole or part of the present Cabulistan. The name of Cophene is connected with the river Kophes, supposed to be the same as the present Cabul river, which falls into the Indus, from the west, at Attock, after passing Peshawar. The city of Cabul, the capital of Afghanistan, may be the Kophene of the text; but we do not know that Sang-shao and his guide got so far west. The text only says that they set out from Khoten "towards it."

[3] Tsze-hoh has not been identified. Beal thinks it was Yarkand, which, however, was north-west from Khoten. Watters ("China Review," p. 135) rather approves the suggestion of "Tashkurgan in Sirikul" for it. As it took Fa-hien twenty-five days to reach it, it must have been at least 150 miles from Khoten.

[4] The king is described here by a Buddhistic phrase, denoting the possession of viryabala, "the power of energy; persevering exertion-- one of the five moral powers" (E. H., p. 170).

[5] Nor has Yu-hwuy been clearly identified. Evidently it was directly south from Tsze-hoh, and among the "Onion" mountains. Watters hazards the conjecture that it was the Aktasch of our present maps.

[6] 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, E. H., p. 168. Two, if not three, years had elapsed since they left Ch'ang-gan. Are we now with them in 402?

[7] This is the Corean reading {.}, much preferable to the {.} of the Chinese editions.

[8] Watters approves of Klaproth's determination of K'eeh-ch'a to be Iskardu or Skardo. There are difficulties in connexion with the view, but it has the advantage, to my mind very great, of bringing the pilgrims across the Indus. The passage might be accomplished with ease at this point of the river's course, and therefore is not particularly mentioned.

[9] Who had preceded them from Khoten.



It happened that the king of the country was then holding the pancha parishad, that is, in Chinese, the great quinquennial assembly.[1] 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, 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,[2] 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.[3]

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[4] before they receive their portion. There is in the country a spitoon which belonged to Buddha, made of stone, and in colour 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,[5] 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[6] 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,[7] and sugar-cane.


[1] See Eitel, p. 89. He describes the assembly as "an ecclesiastical conference, first instituted by king Asoka for general confession of sins and inculcation of morality."

[2] The text of this sentence is perplexing; and all translators, including myself, have been puzzled by it.

[3] See what we are told of king Asoka's grant of all the Jambudvipa to the monks in chapter xxvii. There are several other instances of similar gifts in the Mahavansa.

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

[5] The text here has {.} {.}, not {.} alone. I often found in monasteries boys and lads who looked up to certain of the monks as their preceptors.

[6] Compare what is said in chapter ii of the dress of the people of Shen-shen.

[7] Giles thinks the fruit here was the guava, because the ordinary name for "pomegranate" is preceded by gan {.}; but the pomegranate was called at first Gan Shih-lau, as having been introduced into China from Gan-seih by Chang-k'een, who is referred to in chapter vii.