Seven days' journey from this to the east brought the travellers to the kingdom of Takshasila,[1] which means "the severed head" in the language of China. Here, when Buddha was a Bodhisattva, he gave away his head to a man;[2] 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.[2] 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 all those (and the other two mentioned before) "the four great topes."


[1] See Julien's "Methode pour dechiffrer et transcrire les Nomes Sanscrits," p. 206. Eitel says, "The Taxila of the Greeks, the region near Hoosun Abdaul in lat. 35d 48s N., lon. 72d 44s E. But this identification, I am satisfied, is wrong. Cunningham, indeed, takes credit ("Ancient Geography of India," pp. 108, 109) for determining this to be the site of Arrian's Taxila,--in the upper Punjab, still existing in the ruins of Shahdheri, between the Indus and Hydaspes (the modern Jhelum). So far he may be correct; but the Takshasila of Fa-hien was on the other, or western side of the Indus; and between the river and Gandhara. It took him, indeed, seven days travelling eastwards to reach it; but we do not know what stoppages he may have made on the way. We must be wary in reckoning distances from his specifications of days.

[2] Two Jataka stories. See the account of the latter in Spence Hardy's "Manual of Buddhism," pp. 91, 92. It took place when Buddha had been born as a Brahman in the village of Daliddi; and from the merit of the act, he was next born in a devaloka.



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,[4] 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 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.[5] 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 Yueh-she[6] 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 waggon 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,[7] 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 midday, they bring out the bowl, and, along with the common people,[8] make their various offerings to it, after which they take their midday meal. In the evening, at the time of incense, they bring the bowl out again.[9] It may contain rather more than two pecks, and is of various colours, black predominating, with the seams that show its fourfold composition distinctly marked.[10] 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.[11]

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 Negara,[12] 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[13] came to his end[14] 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.


[1] The modern Peshawur, lat. 34d 8s N., lon. 71d 30s E.

[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 Maha-pari-nirvana Sutra, without being moved almost to tears. Ananda is to reappear on earth as Buddha in another Kalpa. See E. H., p. 9, and the Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi.

[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.

[4] Kanishka appeared, and began to reign, early in our first century, about A.D. 10. He was the last of three brothers, whose original seat was in Yueh-she, immediately mentioned, or Tukhara. Converted by the sudden appearance of a saint, he became a zealous Buddhist, and patronised the system as liberally as Asoka had done. The finest topes in the north-west of India are ascribed to him; he was certainly a great man and a magnificent sovereign.

[5] 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. It is south of mount Meru, and divided among four fabulous kings (E. H., p. 36). It is often used, as here perhaps, merely as the Buddhist name for India.

[6] This king was perhaps Kanishka himself, Fa-hien mixing up, in an inartistic way, different legends about him. Eitel suggests that a relic of the old name of the country may still exist in that of the Jats or Juts of the present day. A more common name for it is Tukhara, and he observes that the people were the Indo-Scythians of the Greeks, and the Tartars of Chinese writers, who, driven on by the Huns (180 B.C.), conquered Transoxiana, destroyed the Bactrian kingdom (126 B.C.), and finally conquered the Punjab, Cashmere, and great part of India, their greatest king being Kanishak (E. H., p. 152).

[7] Watters, clearly understanding the thought of the author in this sentence, renders--"his destiny did not extend to a connexion with the bowl;" but the term "destiny" suggests a controlling or directing power without. The king thought that his virtue in the past was not yet sufficient to give him possession of the bowl.

[8] The text is simply "those in white clothes." This may mean "the laity," or the "upasakas;" but it is better to take the characters in their common Chinese acceptation, as meaning "commoners," "men who have no rank." See in Williams' Dictionary under {.}.

[9] I do not wonder that Remusat should give for this--"et s'en retournent apres." But Fa-hien's use of {.} in the sense of "in the same way" is uniform throughout the narrative.

[10] Hardy's M. B., p. 183, says:--"The alms-bowl, given by Mahabrahma, having vanished (about the time that Gotama became Buddha), each of the four guardian deities brought him an alms-bowl of emerald, but he did not accept them. They then brought four bowls made of stone, of the colour of the mung fruit; and when each entreated that his own bowl might be accepted, Buddha caused them to appear as if formed into a single bowl, appearing at the upper rim as if placed one within the other." See the account more correctly given in the "Buddhist Birth Stories," p. 110.

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

[12] See chapter viii.

[13] This, no doubt, should be Hwuy-ying. King was at this time ill in Nagara, and indeed afterwards he dies in crossing the Little Snowy Mountains; but all the texts make him die twice. The confounding of the two names has been pointed out by Chinese critics.

[14] "Came to his end;" i.e., according to the text, "proved the impermanence and uncertainty," namely, of human life. See Williams' Dictionary under {.}. The phraseology is wholly Buddhistic.



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 honouring the bone, and anxious lest it should be stolen away, has selected eight individuals, representing the great families in the kingdom, and committing 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 colour is of a yellowish white, and it forms an imperfect circle twelve inches round,[4] 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 conchs, 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,[5] and then depart, going out by the door on the west as they 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[6] 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 the offerings are over, they replace the bone in the vihara, where there is a vimoksha tope,[7] 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,[8] 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.[9] 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 north-east of the city brought him to the mouth of a valley, where there is Buddha's pewter staff;[10] and a vihara also has been built at which offerings aremade. 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 ere to (try to) lift it, they could not move it.

Entering the mouth of the valley, and going west, he found Buddha's Sanghali,[11] 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 south-west; 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[12] 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[13] must all leave their shadows here."

Rather more than four hundred paces west from the shadow, when Buddha was at the spot, he shaved his hair and clipt 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[14] of Arhans and Pratyeka Buddhas.[15]


[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. See the subject exhaustively treated in Davids' "Ceylon Coins and Measures," pp. 15-17.

[2] The present Hilda, west of Peshawur, and five miles south of Jellalabad.

[3] "The vihara," says Hardy, "is the residence of a recluse or priest;" and so Davids:--'the clean little hut where the mendicant lives." Our author, however, does not use the Indian name here, but the Chinese characters which express its meaning--tsing shay, "a pure dwelling." He uses the term occasionally, and evidently, in this sense; more frequently it occurs in his narrative in connexion with the Buddhist relic worship; and at first I translated it by "shrine" and "shrine-house;" but I came to the conclusion, at last, to employ always the Indian name. The first time I saw a shrine-house was, I think, in a monastery near Foo-chow;--a small pyramidical structure, about ten feet high, glittering as if with the precious substances, but all, it seemed to me, of tinsel. It was in a large apartment of the building, having many images in it. The monks said it was the most precious thing in their possession, and that if they opened it, as I begged them to do, there would be a convulsion that would destroy the whole establishment. See E. H., p. 166. The name of the province of Behar was given to it in consequence of its many viharas.

[4] According to the characters, "square, round, four inches." Hsuan- chwang says it was twelve inches round.

[5] In Williams' Dictionary, under {.}, the characters, used here, are employed in the phrase for "to degrade an officer," that is, "to remove the token of his rank worn on the crown of his head;" but to place a thing on the crown is a Buddhistic form of religious homage.

[6] The Vaisyas, or bourgeois caste of Hindu society, are described here as "resident scholars."

[7] See Eitel's Handbook under the name vimoksha, which is explained as "the act of self-liberation," and "the dwelling or state of liberty." There are eight acts of liberating one's self from all subjective and objective trammels, and as many states of liberty (vimukti) resulting therefrom. They are eight degrees of self- inanition, and apparently eight stages on the way to nirvana. The tope in the text would be emblematic in some way of the general idea of the mental progress conducting to the Buddhistic consummation of existence.

[8] This incense would be in long "sticks," small and large, such as are sold to-day throughout China, as you enter the temples.

[9] "The illuminating Buddha," the twenty-fourth predecessor of Sakyamuni, and who, so long before, gave him the assurance that he would by-and-by be Buddha. See Jataka Tales, p. 23.

[10] The staff was, as immediately appears, of Gosirsha Chandana, or "sandal-wood from the Cow's-head mountain," a species of copper-brown sandal-wood, said to be produced most abundantly on a mountain of (the fabulous continent) Ullarakuru, north of mount Meru, which resembles in shape the head of a cow (E. H., pp. 42, 43). It is called a "pewter staff" from having on it a head and rings and pewter. See Watters, "China Review," viii, pp. 227, 228, and Williams' Dictionary, under {.}.

[11] 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 (E. H., p. 118).

[12] These were the "marks and beauties" on the person of a supreme Buddha. The rishi Kala Devala saw them on the body of the infant Sakya prince to the number of 328, those on the teeth, which had not yet come out, being visible to his spirit-like eyes (M. B., pp. 148, 149).

[13] Probably="all Buddhas."

[14] The number may appear too great. But see what is said on the size of topes in chapter iii, note 4.

[15] In Singhalese, Pase Buddhas; called also Nidana Buddhas, and Pratyeka Jinas, and explained by "individually intelligent," "completely intelligent," "intelligent as regards the nidanas." This, says Eitel (pp. 96, 97), is "a degree of saintship unknown to primitive Buddhism, denoting automats in ascetic life who attain to Buddhaship 'individually,' that is, without a teacher, and without being able to save others. As the ideal hermit, the Pratyeka Buddha is compared with the rhinoceros khadga that lives lonely in the wilderness. He is also called Nidana Buddha, as having mastered the twelve nidanas (the twelve links in the everlasting chain of cause and effect in the whole range of existence, the understanding of which solves the riddle of life, revealing the inanity of all forms of existence, and preparing the mind for nirvana). He is also compared to a horse, which, crossing a river, almost buries its body under the water, without, however, touching the bottom of the river. Thus in crossing samsara he 'suppresses the errors of life and thought, and the effects of habit and passion, without attaining to absolute perfection.'" Whether these Buddhas were unknown, as Eitel says, to primitive Buddhism, may be doubted. See Davids' Hibbert Lectures, p. 146.



Having stayed there till the third month of winter, Fa-hien and the two others,[1] proceeding southwards, crossed the Little Snowy mountains.[2] 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.[3] Fa-hien stroked the corpse, and cried out piteously, "Our original plan has failed;--it is fate.[4] 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,[5] where there were nearly three thousand monks, students of both the mahayana and hinayana. Here they stayed for the summer retreat,[6] and when that was over, they went on to the south, and ten days' journey brought them to the kingdom of Poh-na,[7] 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.[8]


[1] These must have been Tao-ching and Hwuy-king.

[2] Probably the Safeid Koh, and on the way to the Kohat pass.

[3] All the texts have Kwuy-king. See chapter xii, note 13.

[4] A very natural exclamation, but out of place and inconsistent from the lips of Fa-hien. The Chinese character {.}, which he employed, may be rendered rightly by "fate" or "destiny;" but the fate is not unintelligent. The term implies a factor, or fa-tor, and supposes the ordination of Heaven or God. A Confucian idea for the moment overcame his Buddhism.

[5] Lo-e, or Rohi, is a name for Afghanistan; but only a portion of it can be here intended.

[6] We are now therefore in 404.

[7] No doubt the present district of Bannu, in the Lieutenant- Governorship of the Punjab, between 32d 10s and 33d 15s N. lat., and 70d 26s and 72d E. lon. See Hunter's Gazetteer of India, i, p. 393.

[8] They had then crossed the Indus before. They had done so, indeed, twice; first, from north to south, at Skardo or east of it; and second, as described in chapter vii.



After they had crossed the river, there was a country named Pe- t'oo,[1] 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,[2] 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.


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

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