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

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


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

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

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

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



Less than a yojana to the east from this brought them to the city of Kapilavastu;[1] but in it there was neither king nor people. All was mound and desolation. Of inhabitants there were only some monks and a score or two of families of the common people. At the spot where stood the old palace of king Suddhodana[2] there have been made images of the prince (his eldest son) and his mother;[3] and at the places where that son appeared mounted on a white elephant when he entered his mother's womb,[4] and where he turned his carriage round on seeing the sick man after he had gone out of the city by the eastern gate,[5] topes have been erected. The places (were also pointed out)[6] where (the rishi) A-e[7] inspected the marks (of Buddhaship on the body) of the heir-apparent (when an infant); where, when he was in company with Nanda and others, on the elephant being struck down and drawn to one side, he tossed it away;[8] where he shot an arrow to the south-east, and it went a distance of thirty le, then entering the ground and making a spring to come forth, which men subsequently fashioned into a well from which travellers might drink;[9] where, after he had attained to Wisdom, Buddha returned and saw the king, his father;[10] where five hundred Sakyas quitted their families and did reverence to Upali[11] while the earth shook and moved in six different ways; where Buddha preached his Law to the devas, and the four deva kings and others kept the four doors (of the hall), so that (even) the king, his father, could not enter;[12] where Buddha sat under a nyagrodha tree, which is still standing,[13] with his face to the east, and (his aunt) Maja-prajapati presented him with a Sanghali;[14] and (where) king Vaidurya slew the seed of Sakya, and they all in dying became Srotapannas.[15] A tope was erected at this last place, which is still existing.

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

Fifty le east from the city was a garden, named Lumbini,[17] where the queen entered the pond and bathed. Having come forth from the pond on the northern bank, after (walking) twenty paces, she lifted up her hand, laid hold of a branch of a tree, and, with her face to the east, gave birth to the heir-apparent.[18] When he fell to the ground, he (immediately) walked seven paces. Two dragon-kings (appeared) and washed his body. At the place where they did so, there was immediately formed a well, and from it, as well as from the above pond, where (the queen) bathed,[19] the monks (even) now constantly take the water, and drink it.

There are four places of regular and fixed occurrence (in the history of) all Buddhas:--first, the place where they attained to perfect Wisdom (and became Buddha); second, the place where they turned the wheel of the Law;[20] third, the place where they preached the Law, discoursed of righteousness, and discomfited (the advocates of) erroneous doctrines; and fourth, the place where they came down, after going up to the Trayatrimsas heaven to preach the Law for the benefit of their mothers. Other places in connexion with them became remarkable, according to the manifestations which were made at them at particular times.

The country of Kapilavastu is a great scene of empty desolation. The inhabitants are few and far between. On the roads people have to be on their guard against white elephants[21] and lions, and should not travel incautiously.


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

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

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

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

[5] In Hardy's M. B., pp. 154, 155, we read, "As the prince (Siddhartha, the first name given to Sakyamuni; see Eitel, under Sarvarthasiddha) was one day passing along, he saw a deva under the appearance of a leper, full of sores, with a body like a water-vessel, and legs like the pestle for pounding rice; and when he learned from his charioteer what it was that he saw, be became agitated, and returned at once to the palace." See also Rhys Davids' "Buddhism," p. 29.

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

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

[8] In "The Life of Buddha" we read that the Lichchhavis of Vaisali had sent to the young prince a very fine elephant; but when it was near Kapilavastu, Devadatta, out of envy, killed it with a blow of his fist. Nanda (not Ananda, but a half-brother of Siddhartha), coming that way, saw the carcase lying on the road, and pulled it on one side; but the Bodhisattva, seeing it there, took it by the tail, and tossed it over seven fences and ditches, when the force of its fall made a great ditch. I suspect that the characters in the column have been disarranged, and that we should read {.} {.} {.} {.}, {.} {.}, {.} {.}. Buddha, that is Siddhartha, was at this time only ten years old.

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

[10] This was not the night when he finally fled from Kapilavastu, and as he was leaving the palace, perceiving his sleeping father, and said, "Father, though I love thee, yet a fear possesses me, and I may not stay;"--The Life of the Buddha, p. 25. Most probably it was that related in M. B., pp. 199-204. See "Buddhist Birth Stories," pp. 120- 127.

[11] They did this, I suppose, to show their humility, for Upali was only a Sudra by birth, and had been a barber; so from the first did Buddhism assert its superiority to the conditions of rank and caste. Upali was distinguished by his knowledge of the rules of discipline, and praised on that account by Buddha. He was one of the three leaders of the first synod, and the principal compiler of the original Vinaya books.

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

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

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

[15] See chap. xx, note 10. The Srotapannas are the first class of saints, who are not to be reborn in a lower sphere, but attain to nirvana after having been reborn seven times consecutively as men or devas. The Chinese editions state there were "1000" of the Sakya seed. The general account is that they were 500, all maidens, who refused to take their place in king Vaidurya's harem, and were in consequence taken to a pond, and had their hands and feet cut off. There Buddha came to them, had their wounds dressed, and preached to them the Law. They died in the faith, and were reborn in the region of the four Great Kings. Thence they came back and visited Buddha at Jetavana in the night, and there they obtained the reward of Srotapanna. "The Life of the Buddha," p. 121.

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

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

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

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

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

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



East from Buddha's birthplace, and at a distance of five yojanas, there is a kingdom called Rama.[1] The king of this country, having obtained one portion of the relics of Buddha's body,[2] returned with it and built over it a tope, named the Rama tope. By the side of it there was a pool, and in the pool a dragon, which constantly kept watch over (the tope), and presented offerings to it day and night. When king Asoka came forth into the world, he wished to destroy the eight topes (over the relics), and to build (instead of them) 84,000 topes.[3] After he had thrown down the seven (others), he wished next to destroy this tope. But then the dragon showed itself, took the king into its palace;[4] and when he had seen all the things provided for offerings, it said to him, "If you are able with your offerings to exceed these, you can destroy the tope, and take it all away. I will not contend with you." The king, however, knew that such appliances for offerings were not to be had anywhere in the world, and thereupon returned (without carrying out his purpose).

(Afterwards), the ground all about became overgrown with vegetation, and there was nobody to sprinkle and sweep (about the tope); but a herd of elephants came regularly, which brought water with their trunks to water the ground, and various kinds of flowers and incense, which they presented at the tope. (Once) there came from one of the kingdoms a devotee[5] to worship at the tope. When he encountered the elephants he was greatly alarmed, and screened himself among the trees; but when he saw them go through with the offerings in the most proper manner, the thought filled him with great sadness--that there should be no monastery here, (the inmates of which) might serve the tope, but the elephants have to do the watering and sweeping. Forthwith he gave up the great prohibitions (by which he was bound),[6] and resumed the status of a Sramanera.[7] With his own hands he cleared away the grass and trees, put the place in good order, and made it pure and clean. By the power of his exhortations, he prevailed on the king of the country to form a residence for monks; and when that was done, he became head of the monastery. At the present day there are monks residing in it. This event is of recent occurrence; but in all the succession from that time till now, there has always been a Sramanera head of the establishment.


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

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

[3] The bones of the human body are supposed to consist of 84,000 atoms, and hence the legend of Asoka's wish to build 84,000 topes, one over each atom of Sakyamuni's skeleton.

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

In the city the inhabitants are few and far between, comprising only the families belonging to the (different) societies of monks.

Going from this to the south-east for twelve yojanas, they came to the place where the Lichchhavis[10] wished to follow Buddha to (the place of) his pari-nirvana, and where, when he would not listen to them and they kept cleaving to him, unwilling to go away, he made to appear a large and deep ditch which they could not cross over, and gave them his alms-bowl, as a pledge of his regard, (thus) sending them back to their families. There a stone pillar was erected with an account of this event engraved upon it.


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

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

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

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

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

[6] A Brahman of Benares, said to have been 120 years old, who came to learn from Buddha the very night he died. Ananda would have repulsed him; but Buddha ordered him to be introduced; and then putting aside the ingenious but unimportant question which he propounded, preached to him the Law. The Brahman was converted and attained at once to Arhatship. Eitel says that he attained to nirvana a few moments before Sakyamuni; but see the full account of him and his conversion in "Buddhist Suttas," p. 103-110.

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

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

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

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



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

Three le north-west of the city there is a tope called, "Bows and weapons laid down." The reason why it got that name was this:--The inferior wife of a king, whose country lay along the river Ganges, brought forth from her womb a ball of flesh. The superior wife, jealous of the other, said, "You have brought forth a thing of evil omen," and immediately it was put into a box of wood and thrown into the river. Farther down the stream another king was walking and looking about, when he saw the wooden box (floating) in the water. (He had it brought to him), opened it, and found a thousand little boys, upright and complete, and each one different from the others. He took them and had them brought up. They grew tall and large, and very daring, and strong, crushing all opposition in every expedition which they undertook. By and by they attacked the kingdom of their real father, who became in consequence greatly distressed and sad. His inferior wife asked what it was that made him so, and he replied, "That king has a thousand sons, daring and strong beyond compare, and he wishes with them to attack my kingdom; this is what makes me sad." The wife said, "You need not be sad and sorrowful. Only make a high gallery on the wall of the city on the east; and when the thieves come, I shall be able to make them retire." The king did as she said; and when the enemies came, she said to them from the tower, "You are my sons; why are you acting so unnaturally and rebelliously?" They replied, "If you do not believe me," she said, "look, all of you, towards me, and open your mouths." She then pressed her breasts with her two hands, and each sent forth 500 jets of milk, which fell into the mouths of the thousand sons. The thieves (thus) knew that she was their mother, and laid down their bows and weapons.[5] The two kings, the fathers, thereupon fell into reflection, and both got to be Pratyeka Buddhas.[6] The tope of the two Pratyeka Buddhas is still existing.

In a subsequent age, when the World-honoured one had attained to perfect Wisdom (and become Buddha), he said to is disciples, "This is the place where I in a former age laid down my bow and weapons."[7] It was thus that subsequently men got to know (the fact), and raised the tope on this spot, which in this way received its name. The thousand little boys were the thousand Buddhas of this Bhadra-kalpa.[8]

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

Three or four le east from this place there is a tope (commemorating the following occurrence):--A hundred years after the pari-nirvana of Buddha, some Bhikshus of Vaisali went wrong in the matter of the disciplinary rules in ten particulars, and appealed for their justification to what they said were the words of Buddha. Hereupon the Arhats and Bhikshus observant of the rules, to the number in all of 700 monks, examined afresh and collated the collection of disciplinary books.[10] Subsequently men built at this place the tope (in question), which is still existing.


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

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

[3] Ambapali, Amrapali, or Amradarika, "the guardian of the Amra (probably the mango) tree," is famous in Buddhist annals. See the account of her in M. B., pp. 456-8. She was a courtesan. She had been in many narakas or hells, was 100,000 times a female beggar, and 10,000 times a prostitute; but maintaining perfect continence during the period of Kasyapa Buddha, Sakyamuni's predecessor, she had been born a devi, and finally appeared in earth under an Amra tree in Vaisali. There again she fell into her old ways, and had a son by king Bimbisara; but she was won over by Buddha to virtue and chastity, renounced the world, and attained to the state of an Arhat. See the earliest account of Ambapali's presentation of the garden in "Buddhist Suttas," pp. 30-33, and the note there from Bishop Bigandet on pp. 33, 34.

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

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

[6] See chap. xiii, note 14.

[7] Thus Sakyamuni had been one of the thousand little boys who floated in the box in the Ganges. How long back the former age was we cannot tell. I suppose the tope of the two fathers who became Pratyeka Buddhas had been built like the one commemorating the laying down of weapons after Buddha had told his disciples of the strange events in the past.

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

[9] "The king of demons." The name Mara is explained by "the murderer," "the destroyer of virtue," and similar appellations. "He is," says Eitel, "the personification of lust, the god of love, sin, and death, the arch-enemy of goodness, residing in the heaven Paranirmita Vasavartin on the top of the Kamadhatu. He assumes different forms, especially monstrous ones, to tempt or frighten the saints, or sends his daughters, or inspires wicked men like Devadatta or the Nirgranthas to do his work. He is often represented with 100 arms, and riding on an elephant." The oldest form of the legend in this paragraph is in "Buddhist Suttas," Sacred Books of the East, vol. xi, pp. 41-55, where Buddha says that, if Ananda had asked him thrice, he would have postponed his death.

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

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