From this place they travelled south-east, passing by a succession of very many monasteries, with a multitude of monks, who might be counted by myriads. After passing all these places, they came to a country named Ma-t'aou-lo.[1] They still followed the course of the P'oo-na[2] river, on the banks of which, left and right, there were twenty monasteries, which might contain three thousand monks; and (here) the Law of Buddha was still more flourishing. Everywhere, from the Sandy Desert, in all the countries of India, the kings had been firm believers in that Law. When they make their offerings to a community of monks, they take off their royal caps, and along with their relatives and ministers, supply them with food with their own hands. That done, (the king) has a carpet spread for himself on the ground, and sits down in front of the chairman;--they dare not presume to sit on couches in front of the community. The laws and ways, according to which the kings presented their offerings when Buddha was in the world, have been handed down to the present day.

All south from this is named the Middle Kingdom.[3] In it the cold and heat are finely tempered, and there is neither hoarfrost nor snow. The people are numerous and happy; they have not to register their households, or attend to any magistrates and their rules; only those who cultivate the royal land have to pay (a portion of) the grain from it. If they want to go, they go; if they want to stay on, they stay. The king governs without decapitation or (other) corporal punishments. Criminals are simply fined, lightly or heavily, according to the circumstances (of each case). Even in cases of repeated attempts at wicked rebellion, they only have their right hands cut off. The king's body-guards and attendants all have salaries. Throughout the whole country the people do not kill any living creature, nor drink intoxicating liquor, nor eat onions or garlic. The only exception is that of the Chandalas.[4] That is the name for those who are (held to be) wicked men, and live apart from others. When they enter the gate of a city or a market-place, they strike a piece of wood to make themselves known, so that men know and avoid them, and do not come into contact with them. In that country they do not keep pigs and fowls, and do not sell live cattle; in the markets there are no butchers' shops and no dealers in intoxicating drink. In buying and selling commodities they use cowries.[5] Only the Chandalas are fishermen and hunters, and sell flesh meat.

After Buddha attained to pari-nirvana,[6] the kings of the various countries and the heads of the Vaisyas[7] built viharas for the priests, and endowed them with fields, houses, gardens, and orchards, along with the resident populations and their cattle, the grants being engraved on plates of metal,[8] so that afterwards they were handed down from king to king, without any daring to annul them, and they remain even to the present time.

The regular business of the monks is to perform acts of meritorious virtue, and to recite their Sutras and sit wrapt in meditation. When stranger monks arrive (at any monastery), the old residents meet and receive them, carry for them their clothes and alms-bowl, give them water to wash their feet, oil with which to anoint them, and the liquid food permitted out of the regular hours.[9] When (the stranger) has enjoyed a very brief rest, they further ask the number of years that he has been a monk, after which he receives a sleeping apartment with its appurtenances, according to his regular order, and everything is done for him which the rules prescribe.[10]

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

When Sariputtra was a great Brahman, he went to Buddha, and begged (to be permitted) to quit his family (and become a monk). The great Mugalan and the great Kasyapa[17] also did the same. The bhikshunis[18] for the most part make their offerings at the tope of Ananda, because it was he who requested the World-honoured one to allow females to quit their families (and become nuns). The Sramaneras[19] mostly make their offerings to Rahula.[20] The professors of the Abhidharma make their offerings to it; those of the Vinaya to it. Every year there is one such offering, and each class has its own day for it. Students of the mahayana present offerings to the Prajna-paramita,[21] to Manjusri,[22] and to Kwan-she-yin.[23] When the monks have done receiving their annual tribute (from the harvests),[24] the Heads of the Vaisyas and all the Brahmans bring clothes and other such articles as the monks require for use, and distribute among them. The monks, having received them, also proceed to give portions to one another. From the nirvana of Buddha,[25] the forms of ceremony, laws, and rules, practised by the sacred communities, have been handed down from one generation to another without interruption.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[12] Mugalan, the Singhalese name of this disciple, is more pronounceable. He also was one of the principal disciples, called Buddha's "left-hand attendant." He was distinguished for his power of vision, and his magical powers. The name in the text is derived from the former attribute, and it was by the latter that he took up an artist to Tushita to get a view of Sakyamuni, and so make a statue of him. (Compare the similar story in chap. vi.) He went to hell, and released his mother. He also died before Sakyamuni, and is to reappear as Buddha. Eitel, p. 65.

[13] See chapter xii, note 2.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



From this they proceeded south-east for eighteen yojanas, and found themselves in a kingdom called Sankasya,[1] at the place where Buddha came down, after ascending to the Trayastrimsas heaven,[2] and there preaching for three months his Law for the benefit of his mother.[3] Buddha had gone up to this heaven by his supernatural power,[4] without letting his disciples know; but seven days before the completion (of the three months) he laid aside his invisibility,[4] and Anuruddha,[5] with his heavenly eyes,[5] saw the World-honoured one, and immediately said to the honoured one, the great Mugalan, "Do you go and salute the World-honoured one." Mugalan forthwith went, and with head and face did homage at (Buddha's) feet. They then saluted and questioned each other, and when this was over, Buddha said to Mugalan, "Seven days after this I will go down to Jambudvipa;" and thereupon Mugalan returned. At this time the great kings of eight countries with their ministers and people, not having seen Buddha for a long time, were all thirstily looking up for him, and had collected in clouds in this kingdom to wait for the World-honoured one.

Then the bhikshuni Utpala[6] thought in her heart, "To-day the kings, with their ministers and people, will all be meeting (and welcoming) Buddha. I am (but) a woman; how shall I succeed in being the first to see him?"[7] Buddha immediately, by his spirit-like power, changed her into the appearance of a holy Chakravartti[8] king, and she was the foremost of all in doing reverence to him.

As Buddha descended from his position aloft in the Trayastrimsas heaven, when he was coming down, there were made to appear three flights of precious steps. Buddha was on the middle flight, the steps of which were composed of the seven precious substances. The king of Brahma-loka[9] also made a flight of silver steps appear on the right side, (where he was seen) attending with a white chowry in his hand. Sakra, Ruler of Devas, made (a flight of) steps of purple gold on the left side, (where he was seen) attending and holding an umbrella of the seven precious substances. An innumerable multitude of the devas followed Buddha in his descent. When he was come down, the three flights all disappeared in the ground, excepting seven steps, which continued to be visible. Afterwards king Asoka, wishing to know where their ends rested, sent men to dig and see. They went down to the yellow springs[10] without reaching the bottom of the steps, and from this the king received an increase to his reverence and faith, and built a vihara over the steps, with a standing image, sixteen cubits in height, right over the middle flight. Behind the vihara he erected a stone pillar, about fifty cubits high,[11] with a lion on the top of it.[12] Let into the pillar, on each of its four sides,[13] there is an image of Buddha, inside and out[14] shining and transparent, and pure as it were of /lapis lazuli/. Some teachers of another doctrine[15] once disputed with the Sramanas about (the right to) this as a place of residence, and the latter were having the worst of the argument, when they took an oath on both sides on the condition that, if the place did indeed belong to the Sramanas, there should be some marvellous attestation of it. When these words had been spoken, the lion on the top gave a great roar, thus giving the proof; on which their opponents were frightened, bowed to the decision, and withdrew.

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

At the places where Buddha, when he was in the world, cut his hair and nails, topes are erected; and where the three Buddhas[16] that preceded Sakyamuni Buddha and he himself sat; where they walked,[17] and where images of their persons were made. At all these places topes were made, and are still existing. At the place where Sakra, Ruler of the Devas, and the king of the Brahma-loka followed Buddha down (from the Trayastrimsas heaven) they have also raised a tope.

At this place the monks and nuns may be a thousand, who all receive their food from the common store, and pursue their studies, some of the mahayana and some of the hinayana. Where they live, there is a white-eared dragon, which acts the part of danapati to the community of these monks, causing abundant harvests in the country, and the enriching rains to come in season, without the occurrence of any calamities, so that the monks enjoy their repose and ease. In gratitude for its kindness, they have made for it a dragon-house, with a carpet for it to sit on, and appointed for it a diet of blessing, which they present for its nourishment. Every day they set apart three of their number to go to its house, and eat there. Whenever the summer retreat is ended, the dragon straightway changes its form, and appears as a small snake,[18] with white spots at the side of its ears. As soon as the monks recognise it, they fill a copper vessel with cream, into which they put the creature, and then carry it round from the one who has the highest seat (at their tables) to him who has the lowest, when it appears as if saluting them. When it has been taken round, immediately it disappeared; and every year it thus comes forth once. The country is very productive, and the people are prosperous, and happy beyond comparison. When people of other countries come to it, they are exceedingly attentive to them all, and supply them with what they need.

Fifty yojanas north-west from the monastery there is another, called "The Great Heap."[19] Great Heap was the name of a wicked demon, who was converted by Buddha, and men subsequently at this place reared a vihara. When it was being made over to an Arhat by pouring water on his hands,[20] some drops fell on the ground. They are still on the spot, and however they may be brushed away and removed, they continue to be visible, and cannot be made to disappear.

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

At this place there are a hundred small topes, at which a man may keep counting a whole day without being able to know (their exact number). If he be firmly bent on knowing it, he will place a man by the side of each tope. When this is done, proceeding to count the number of men, whether they be many or few, he will not get to know (the number).[21]

There is a monastery, containing perhaps 600 or 700 monks, in which there is a place where a Pratyeka Buddha used to take his food. The nirvana ground (where he was burned[22] after death) is as large as a carriage wheel; and while grass grows all around, on this spot there is none. The ground also where he dried his clothes produces no grass, but the impression of them, where they lay on it, continues to the present day.


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

[2] The heaven of Indra or Sakya, meaning "the heaven of thirty-three classes," a name which has been explained both historically and mythologically. "The description of it," says Eitel, p. 148, "tallies in all respects with the Svarga of Brahmanic mythology. It is situated between the four peaks of the Meru, and consists of thirty-two cities of devas, eight one each of the four corners of the mountain. Indra's capital of Bellevue is in the centre. There he is enthroned, with a thousand heads and a thousand eyes, and four arms grasping the vajra, with his wife and 119,000 concubines. There he receives the monthly reports of the four Maharajas, concerning the progress of good and evil in the world,"

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

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

[5] Anuruddha was a first cousin of Sakyamuni, being the son of his uncle Amritodana. He is often mentioned in the account we have of Buddha's last moments. His special gift was the divyachakshus or "heavenly eye," the first of the six abhijnas or "supernatural talents," the faculty of comprehending in one instantaneous view, or by intuition, all beings in all worlds. "He could see," says Hardy, M. B., p. 232, "all things in 100,000 sakvalas as plainly as a mustard seed held in the hand."

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

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

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

[9] This was Brahma, the first person of the Brahmanical Trimurti, adopted by Buddhism, but placed in an inferior position, and surpassed by every Buddhist saint who attains to bodhi.

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

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

[12] A note of Mr. Beal says on this:--"General Cunningham, who visited the spot (1862), found a pillar, evidently of the age of Asoka, with a well-carved elephant on the top, which, however, was minus trunk and tail. He supposes this to be the pillar seen by Fa-hien, who mistook the top of it for a lion. It is possible such a mistake may have been made, as in the account of one of the pillars at Sravasti, Fa-hien says an ox formed the capital, whilst Hsuan-chwang calls it an elephant (P. 19, Arch. Survey)."

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

[14] Equivalent to "all through."

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

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

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

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

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

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

[21] This would seem to be absurd; but the writer evidently intended to convey the idea that there was something mysterious about the number of the topes.

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



Fa-hien stayed at the Dragon vihara till after the summer retreat,[1] and then, travelling to the south-east for seven yojanas, he arrived at the city of Kanyakubja,[2] lying along the Ganges.[3] There are two monasteries in it, the inmates of which are students of the hinayana. At a distance from the city of six or seven le, on the west, on the northern bank of the Ganges, is a place where Buddha preached the Law to his disciples. It has been handed down that his subjects of discourse were such as "The bitterness and vanity (of life) as impermanent and uncertain," and that "The body is as a bubble or foam on the water." At this spot a tope was erected, and still exists.

Having crossed the Ganges, and gone south for three yojanas, (the travellers) arrived at a village named A-le,[4] containing places where Buddha preached the Law, where he sat, and where he walked, at all of which topes have been built.


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

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

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

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



Going on from this to the south-east for three yojanas, they came to the great kingdom of Sha-che.[1] As you go out of the city of Sha-che by the southern gate, on the east of the road (is the place) where Buddha, after he had chewed his willow branch,[2] stuck it in the ground, when it forthwith grew up seven cubits, (at which height it remained) neither increasing nor diminishing. The Brahmans with their contrary doctrines[3] became angry and jealous. Sometimes they cut the tree down, sometimes they plucked it up, and cast it to a distance, but it grew again on the same spot as at first. Here also is the place where the four Buddhas walked and sat, and at which a tope was built that is still existing.


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

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

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



Going on from this to the south, for eight yojanas, (the travellers) came to the city of Sravasti[1] in the kingdom of Kosala,[2] in which the inhabitants were few and far between, amounting in all (only) to a few more than two hundred families; the city where king Prasenajit[3] ruled, and the place of the old vihara of Maha-prajapti;[4] of the well and walls of (the house of) the (Vaisya) head Sudatta;[5] and where the Angulimalya[6] became an Arhat, and his body was (afterwards) burned on his attaining to pari-nirvana. At all these places topes were subsequently erected, which are still existing in the city. The Brahmans, with their contrary doctrine, became full of hatred and envy in their hearts, and wished to destroy them, but there came from the heavens such a storm of crashing thunder and flashing lightning that they were not able in the end to effect their purpose.

As you go out from the city by the south gate, and 1,200 paces from it, the (Vaisya) head Sudatta built a vihara, facing the south; and when the door was open, on each side of it there was a stone pillar, with the figure of a wheel on the top of that on the left, and the figure of an ox on the top of that on the right. On the left and right of the building the ponds of water clear and pure, the thickets of trees always luxuriant, and the numerous flowers of various hues, constituted a lovely scene, the whole forming what is called the Jetavana vihara.[7]

When Buddha went up to the Trayastrimsas heaven,[8] and preached the Law for the benefit of his mother, (after he had been absent for) ninety days, Prasenajit, longing to see him, caused an image of him to be carved in Gosirsha Chandana wood,[9] and put in the place where he usually sat. When Buddha on his return entered the vihara, Buddha said to it, "Return to your seat. After I have attained to pari-nirvana, you will serve as a pattern to the four classes of my disciples,"[10] and on this the image returned to its seat. This was the very first of all the images (of Buddha), and that which men subsequently copied. Buddha then removed, and dwelt in a small vihara on the south side (of the other), a different place from that containing the image, and twenty paces distant from it.

The Jetavana vihara was originally of seven storeys. The kings and people of the countries around vied with one another in their offerings, hanging up about it silken streamers and canopies, scattering flowers, burning incense, and lighting lamps, so as to make the night as bright as the day. This they did day after day without ceasing. (It happened that) a rat, carrying in its mouth the wick of a lamp, set one of the streamers or canopies on fire, which caught the vihara, and the seven storeys were all consumed. The kings, with their officers and people, were all very sad and distressed, supposing that the sandal-wood image had been burned; but lo! after four or five days, when the door of a small vihara on the east was opened, there was immediately seen the original image. They were all greatly rejoiced, and co-operated in restoring the vihara. When they had succeeded in completing two storeys, they removed the image back to its former place.

When Fa-hien and Tao-ching first arrived at the Jetavana monastery, and thought how the World-honoured one had formerly resided there for twenty-five years, painful reflections arose in their minds. Born in a border-land, along with their like-minded friends, they had travelled through so many kingdoms; some of those friends had returned (to their own land), and some had (died), proving the impermanence and uncertainty of life; and to-day they saw the place where Buddha had lived now unoccupied by him. They were melancholy through their pain of heart, and the crowd of monks came out, and asked them from what kingdom they were come. "We are come," they replied, "from the land of Han." "Strange," said the monks with a sigh, "that men of a border country should be able to come here in search of our Law!" Then they said to one another, "During all the time that we, preceptors and monks,[11] have succeeded to one another, we have never seen men of Han, followers of our system, arrive here."

Four le to the north-west of the vihara there is a grove called "The Getting of Eyes." Formerly there were five hundred blind men, who lived here in order that they might be near the vihara.[12] Buddha preached his Law to them, and they all got back their eyesight. Full of joy, they stuck their staves in the earth, and with their heads and faces on the ground, did reverence. The staves immediately began to grow, and they grew to be great. People made much of them, and no one dared to cut them down, so that they came to form a grove. It was in this way that it got its name, and most of the Jetavana monks, after they had taken their midday meal, went to the grove, and sat there in meditation.

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

To each of the great residences for monks at the Jetavana vihara there were two gates, one facing the east and the other facing the north. The park (containing the whole) was the space of ground which the (Vaisya) head Sudatta purchased by covering it with gold coins. The vihara was exactly in the centre. Here Buddha lived for a longer time than at any other place, preaching his Law and converting men. At the places where he walked and sat they also (subsequently) reared topes, each having its particular name; and here was the place where Sundari[14] murdered a person and then falsely charged Buddha (with the crime). Outside the east gate of the Jetavana, at a distance of seventy paces to the north, on the west of the road, Buddha held a discussion with the (advocates of the) ninety-six schemes of erroneous doctrine, when the king and his great officers, the householders, and people were all assembled in crowds to hear it. Then a woman belonging to one of the erroneous systems, by name Chanchamana,[15] prompted by the envious hatred in her heart, and having put on (extra) clothes in front of her person, so as to give her the appearance of being with child, falsely accused Buddha before all the assembly of having acted unlawfully (towards her). On this, Sakra, Ruler of Devas, changed himself and some devas into white mice, which bit through the strings about her waist; and when this was done, the (extra) clothes which she wore dropt down on the ground. The earth at the same time was rent, and she went (down) alive into hell.[16] (This) also is the place where Devadatta,[17] trying with empoisoned claws to injure Buddha, went down alive into hell. Men subsequently set up marks to distinguish where both these events took place.

Further, at the place where the discussion took place, they reared a vihara rather more than sixty cubits high, having in it an image of Buddha in a sitting posture. On the east of the road there was a devalaya[18] of (one of) the contrary systems, called "The Shadow Covered," right opposite the vihara on the place of discussion, with (only) the road between them, and also rather more than sixty cubits high. The reason why it was called "The Shadow Covered" was this:-- When the sun was in the west, the shadow of the vihara of the World- honoured one fell on the devalaya of a contrary system; but when the sun was in the east, the shadow of that devalaya was diverted to the north, and never fell on the vihara of Buddha. The mal-believers regularly employed men to watch their devalaya, to sweep and water (all about it), to burn incense, light the lamps, and present offerings; but in the morning the lamps were found to have been suddenly removed, and in the vihara of Buddha. The Brahmans were indignant, and said, "Those Sramanas take out lamps and use them for their own service of Buddha, but we will not stop our service for you!"[19] On that night the Brahmans themselves kept watch, when they saw the deva spirits which they served take the lamps and go three times round the vihara of Buddha and present offerings. After this ministration to Buddha they suddenly disappeared. The Brahmans thereupon knowing how great was the spiritual power of Buddha, forthwith left their families, and became monks.[20] It has been handed down, that, near the time when these things occurred, around the Jetavana vihara there were ninety-eight monasteries, in all of which there were monks residing, excepting only in one place which was vacant. In this Middle Kingdom[21] there are ninety-six[21] sorts of views, erroneous and different from our system, all of which recognise this world and the future world[22] (and the connexion between them). Each had its multitude of followers, and they all beg their food: only they do not carry the alms-bowl. They also, moreover, seek (to acquire) the blessing (of good deeds) on unfrequented ways, setting up on the road-side houses of charity, where rooms, couches, beds, and food and drink are supplied to travellers, and also to monks, coming and going as guests, the only difference being in the time (for which those parties remain).

There are also companies of the followers of Devadatta still existing. They regularly make offerings to the three previous Buddhas, but not to Sakyamuni Buddha.

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


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

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

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

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

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

[6] The Angulimalya were a sect or set of Sivaitic fanatics, who made assassination a religious act. The one of them here mentioned had joined them by the force of circumstances. Being converted by Buddha, he became a monk; but when it is said in the text that he "got the Tao," or doctrine, I think that expression implies more than his conversion, and is equivalent to his becoming an Arhat. His name in Pali is Angulimala. That he did become an Arhat is clear from his autobiographical poem in the "Songs of the Theras."

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

[8] See chapter xvii.

[9] See chapter xiii.

[10] Arya, meaning "honourable," "venerable," is a title given only to those who have mastered the four spiritual truths:--(1) that "misery" is a necessary condition of all sentient existence; this is duhkha: (2) that the "accumulation" of misery is caused by the passions; this is samudaya: (3) that the "extinction" of passion is possible; this is nirodha: and (4) that the "path" leads to the extinction of passion; which is marga. According to their attainment of these truths, the Aryas, or followers of Buddha, are distinguished into four classes,-- Srotapannas, Sakridagamins, Anagamins, and Arhats. E. H., p. 14.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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