Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:19 am

CHAPTER XVIII. KANYÂKUBJA, OR CANOUGE. BUDDHA’S PREACHING.
[Chinese]

Fâ-hien stayed at the Dragon vihâra till after the summer retreat,1 and then, travelling to the south-east for seven yojanas, he arrived at the city of Kanyâkubja,2 lying along the Ganges.3 There are two monasteries in it, the inmates of which are students of the hînayâna. 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 Â-le,4 containing places where Buddha preached the Law, where he sat, and where he walked, at all of which topes have been built.

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Notes:

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 Brahmâ-datta, who were made deformed by the curse of the ṛishi Mahâ-vṛiksha, whose overtures they had refused. E. H., p. 51.
3 Gaṅgâ, explained by ‘Blessed water,’ and ‘Come from heaven to earth.’
4 This village (the Chinese editions read ‘forest’) has hardly been clearly identified.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:20 am

CHAPTER XIX. SHÂ-CHE. LEGEND OF BUDDHA’S DANTA-KÂSHṬHA.
[Chinese]

Going on from this to the south-east for three yojanas, they came to the great kingdom of Shâ-che.1 As you go out of the city of Shâ-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 Brahmâns with their contrary doctrines3 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.

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Notes:

1 Shâ-che should probably be Shâ-khe, making Cunningham’s identification of the name with the present Saket still more likely. The change of 祗 into 祇 is slight; and, indeed, the Khang-hsî dictionary thinks the two characters should be but one and the same.
2 This was, no doubt, what was called the danta-kâshṭha, 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 Fâ-hien used, Yang (楊, 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 Brahmâns,’ or ‘heretics and Brahmâns?’ I think the Brahmâns were also ‘the unbelievers’ and ‘heretics,’ having 外道, views and ways outside of, and opposed to, Buddha’s.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:20 am

CHAPTER XX. KOŚALA AND ŚRÂVASTÎ. THE JETAVANA VIHÂRA AND OTHER MEMORIALS AND LEGENDS OF BUDDHA. SYMPATHY OF THE MONKS WITH THE PILGRIMS.
[Chinese]

Going on from this to the south, for eight yojanas, (the travellers) came to the city of Śrâvastî1 in the kingdom of Kośala,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 Prasenajit3 ruled, and the place of the old vihâra of Mahâ-prajâpatî;4 of the well and walls of (the house of) the (Vaiśya) head Sudatta;5 and where the Aṅgulimâlya6 became an Arhat, and his body was (afterwards) burned on his attaining to pari-nirvâṇa. At all these places topes were subsequently erected, which are still existing in the city. The Brahmâns, 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 (Vaiśya) head Sudatta built a vihâra, 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 vihâra.7

When Buddha went up to the Trayastriṃśas heaven, and preached the Law for the benefit of his mother,8 (after he had been absent for) ninety days, Prasenajit, longing to see him, caused an image of him to be carved in Gośîrsha Chandana wood,9 and put in the place where he usually sat. When Buddha on his return entered the vihâra, this image immediately left its place, and came forth to meet him. Buddha said to it, ‘Return to your seat. After I have attained to pari-nirvâṇa, 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 vihâra on the south side (of the other), a different place from that containing the image, and twenty paces distant from it.

The Jetavana vihâra 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 vihâra, 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 vihâra on the east was opened, there was immediately seen the original image. They were all greatly rejoiced, and co-operated in restoring the vihâra. When they had succeeded in completing two storeys, they removed the image back to its former place.

When Fâ-hien and Tâo-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 vihâra 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 vihâra.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 Vaiśakha13 built another vihâra, to which she invited Buddha and his monks, and which is still existing.

To each of the great residences for monks at the Jetavana vihâra 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 (Vaiśya) head Sudatta purchased by covering it with gold coins. The vihâra 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 Sundari14 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 Chañchamana,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, Śakra, 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 vihâra 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 devâlaya18 of (one of) the contrary systems, called ‘The Shadow Covered,’ right opposite the vihâra 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 vihâra of the World-honoured one fell on the devâlaya of a contrary system; but when the sun was in the east, the shadow of that devâlaya was diverted to the north, and never fell on the vihâra of Buddha. The mal-believers regularly employed men to watch their devâlaya, 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 vihâra of Buddha. The Brahmâns were indignant, and said, ‘Those Śramaṇas 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 Brahmâns themselves kept watch, when they saw the deva spirits which they served take the lamps and go three times round the vihâra of Buddha and present offerings. After this ministration to Buddha they suddenly disappeared. The Brahmâns 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 vihâra there were ninety-eight monasteries, in all of which there were monks residing, excepting only in one place which was vacant. In this Middle Kingdom21 there are ninety-six21 sorts of views, erroneous and different from our system, all of which recognise this world and the future world22 (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 Śâkyamuni Buddha.23

Four le south-east from the city of Śrâvastî, a tope has been erected at the place where the World-honoured one encountered king Virûdhaha,24 when he wished to attack the kingdom of Shay-e,24 and took his stand before him at the side of the road.25

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Notes:

1 In Singhalese, Sewet; here evidently the capital of Kośala. It is placed by Cunningham (archæological Survey) on the south bank of the Rapti, about fifty-eight miles north of Ayodyâ or Oude. There are still the ruins of a great town, the name being Sâhet Mâhat. It was in this town, or in its neighbourhood, that Śâkyamuni 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-naḍi, meaning ‘leader of the victorious army.’ He was one of the earliest converts and chief patrons of Śâkyamuni. 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.’ Prajâpatî was aunt and nurse of Śâkyamuni, 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 Anâtha-piṇḍika (or Piṇḍada), a wealthy householder, or Vaiśya head, of Śrâvastî, famous for his liberality (Hardy, Anepidu). Of his old house, only the well and walls remained at the time of Fâ-hien’s visit to Śrâvastî.
6 The Aṅgulimâlya were a sect or set of Śivaitic 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 Tâo,’ or doctrine, I think that expression implies more than his conversion, and is equivalent to his becoming an Arhat. His name in Pâli is Aṅgulimâla. 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 vihâra in the suburbs of Śrâvastî, erected in a park which Anâtha-piṇḍika bought of prince Jeta, the son of Prasenajit. Śâkyamuni made this place his favourite residence for many years. Most of the Sûtras (authentic and supposititious) date from this spot.’
8 See chapter xvii.
9 See chapter xiii.
10 Ârya, 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 duḥkha: (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 mârga. According to their attainment of these truths, the Âryas, or followers of Buddha, are distinguished into four classes,—Śrotâpannas, Sakṛidâgâmins, Anâgâmins, and Arhats. E. H., p. 14.
11 This is the first time that Fâ-hien employs the name Ho-shang (和尙), 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 Upadhyâya, ‘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 殞社 (? munshee [? Bronze]); in Kustana and Kashgar they say 鶻社 (hwa-shay); and from the latter term are derived the Chinese synonyms, 和闍 (ho-shay) and 和尙 (ho-shang).’ The Indian term was originally a designation for those who teach only a part of the Vedas, the Vedâṅgas. 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 法師, monks engaged in popular teaching (teachers of the Law), in distinction from 律師, disciplinists, and 禪師, 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 Pâli Âkariya and Upagghâya; 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 依 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 Tʽâi in Shan-lung similarly frequented.
13 The wife of Anâtha-piṇḍika in note 5, 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. Hsüan-chwang does not give the name of this murderer; see in Julien’s ‘Vie et Voyages de Hiouen-thsang,’ p. 125,—‘a heretical Brahmân 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 Brahmâcharins. 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 Chañcha; 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 Avîchi 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 Avîchi), though not without hope of final redemption. E. H. p. 21.
17 Devadatta was brother of Ânanda, and a near relative therefore of Śâkyamuni. 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 Devarâja, in a universe called Deva-soppana. E. H., p. 39.
18 ‘A devâlaya (天寺 or 天祠), a place in which a deva is worshipped,—a general name for all Brahmânical temples’ (Eitel, p. 30). We read in the Khang-hsî dictionary under 寺, that when Kaśyapa Mataṅga came to the Western Regions, with his Classics or Sûtras, he was lodged in the Court of State-Ceremonial, and that afterwards there was built for him ‘The Court of the White-horse’ (白馬寺), and in consequence the name of Sze (寺) came to be given to all Buddhistic temples. Fâ-hien, however, applies this term only to Brahmânical 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 Fâ-hien:—‘entering it,’ as here, by becoming monks (入道); ‘getting it,’ by becoming Arhats (得道); and ‘completing it,’ by becoming Buddha (成道).
21 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 Kośala, 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. Rémusat 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 Fâ-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 皆知今世耳. 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 See note 17; and chap. xvii, note 19.
24 24 Or, more according to the phonetisation of the text, Vaidûrya. He was king of Kośala, the son and successor of Prasenajit, and the destroyer of Kapilavastu, the city of the Śâkya family. His hostility to the Śâkyas is sufficiently established, and it may be considered as certain that the name Shay-e, which, according to Julien’s ‘Méthode,’ p. 89, may be read Chiâ-e, is the same as Kiâ-e (迦夷), one of the phonetisations of Kapilavastu, as given by Eitel.
25 This would be the interview in the ‘Life of the Buddha’ in Trübner’s Oriental Series, p. 116, when Virûdhaha 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 Śrâvastî; 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.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:21 am

CHAPTER XXI. THE THREE PREDECESSORS OF ŚÂKYAMUNI IN THE BUDDHASHIP.
[Chinese]

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

Going on south-east from the city of Śrâvastî for twelve yojanas, (the travellers) came to a town named Na-pei-keâ,4 the birthplace of Krakuchanda Buddha.5 At the place where he and his father met, and at that where he attained to pari-nirvâṇa, topes were erected. Going north from here less than a yojana, they came to a town which had been the birthplace of Kanakamuni Buddha.5 At the place where he and his father met, and where he attained to pari-nirvâṇa, topes were erected.

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Notes:

1 Identified, as Beal says, by Cunningham with Tadwa, a village nine miles to the west of Sâhara-mahat. The birthplace of Kâśyapa Buddha is generally thought to have been Benâres. According to a calculation of Rémusat, 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 Śâkyamuni and his father (real or supposed) Śuddhodana.
3 This is the highest epithet given to every supreme Buddha; in Chinese 如來, 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 Kâśyapa 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 Jambudvîpa, assembling together, erected a dagoba over his relics one yojana in height!’
4 Na-pei-keâ or Nabhiga is not mentioned elsewhere. Eitel says this Buddha was born at the city of Gân-ho (如和城) and Hardy gives his birthplace as Mekhala. It may be possible, by means of Sanskrit, to reconcile these statements.
5 5 See chap. xvii note 19.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

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CHAPTER XXII. KAPILAVASTU. ITS DESOLATION. LEGENDS OF BUDDHA’S BIRTH, AND OTHER INCIDENTS IN CONNEXION WITH IT.
[Chinese]

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 Śuddhodana2 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 ṛishi) Â-e7 inspected the marks8 (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;9 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;10 where, after he had attained to Wisdom,11 Buddha returned and saw the king, his father;12 where five hundred Śâkyas quitted their families and did reverence to Upâli13 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;14 where Buddha sat under a nyagrodha tree, which is still standing,15 with his face to the east, and (his aunt) Mahâ-prajâpatî presented him with a Saṅghâli;16 and (where) king Vaidûrya slew the seed of Śâkya, and they all in dying became Śrotâpannas.17 A tope was erected at this last place, which is still existing.

[x]
I. DREAM OF BUDDHA’S MOTHER OF HIS REINCARNATION.

[x]
III. BUDDHA TOSSING THE ELEPHANT OVER THE WALL.

[x]
II. BUDDHA JUST BORN, WITH THE NÂGAS SUPPLYING WATER TO WASH HIM.

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.18

Fifty le east from the city was a garden, named Lumbinî,19 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.20 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,21 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;22 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 Trayastriṃśas 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 elephants23 and lions, and should not travel incautiously.

_______________

Notes:

1 Kapilavastu, ‘the city of beautiful virtue,’ was the birthplace of Śâkyamuni, 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. 26° 46′ N., lon. 83° 19′ 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 Benâres.’
2 The father, or supposed father, of Śâkyamuni. He is here called ‘the king white and pure’ (白淨王). A more common appellation is ‘the king of pure rice’ (淨飯王); but the character 飯, or ‘rice,’ must be a mistake for 梵, ‘Brahmân,’ and the appellation = ‘Pure Brahmân king.’
3 The ‘eldest son,’ or ‘prince’ was Śâkyamuni, and his mother had no other son. For ‘his mother,’ see chap. xvii, note 3. She was a daughter of Añjana or Anuśâkya, king of the neighbouring country of Koli, and Yaśodharâ, an aunt of Śuddhodana. 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 Mahâ-mâyâ 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 (Siddhârtha, the first name given to Śâkyamuni; see Eitel, under Sarvârthasiddha) 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, he 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. Fâ-hien does not say that there were memorial topes at all these places.
7 Asita; see Eitel, p. 15. He is called in Pâli Kalâ Devala, and had been a minister of Śuddhodana’s father.
8 See chap. xiii, note 12.
9 In ‘The Life of Buddha’ we read that the Lichchhavis of Vaiśâlî 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 Ânanda, but a half-brother of Siddhârtha), 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 撲捔象處, 射箭, 云云. Buddha, that is Siddhârtha, was at this time only ten years old.
10 The young Śâkyas were shooting when the prince thus surpassed them all. He was then seventeen.
11 See chap. xx, note 20.
12 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.
13 They did this, I suppose, to show their humility, for Upâli was only a Śûdra by birth, and had been a barber; so from the first did Buddhism assert its superiority to the conditions of rank and caste. Upâli 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.
14 I have not met with the particulars of this preaching.
15 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 Gayâ to Anurâdhapura in Ceylon in the middle of the third century B.C, and is still growing there, the oldest historical tree in the world.
16 See chap. xiii, note 11. I have not met with the account of this presentation. See the long account of Prajâpatî in M. B., pp. 306–315.
17 See chap. xx, note 10. The Śrotâpannas are the first class of saints, who are not to be reborn in a lower sphere, but attain to nirvâṇa after having been reborn seven times consecutively as men or devas. The Chinese editions state there were ‘1000’ of the Śâkya seed. The general account is that they were 500, all maidens, who refused to take their place in king Vaidûrya’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 Śrotâpanna. ‘The Life of the Buddha,’ p. 121.
18 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.
19 ‘The place of Liberation;’ see chap. xiii, note 7.
20 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.
21 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).’
22 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.’
23 Fâ-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.’
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:23 am

CHAPTER XXIII. RÂMA, AND ITS TOPE.
[Chinese]

East from Buddha’s birthplace, and at a distance of five yojanas, there is a kingdom called Râma.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 Râma 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 Aśoka 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 devotee5 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 Śrâmaṇera.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 Śrâmaṇera head of the establishment.

_______________

Notes:

1 Râma or Râmagrâma, between Kapilavastu and Kuśanagara.
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 Aśoka’s wish to build 84,000 topes, one over each atom of Śâkyamuni’s skeleton.
4 Fâ-hien, it appears to me, intended his readers to understand that the nâga-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 Śrâmaṇera, or in Chinese Shâmei. See chap. xvi, note 20.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:24 am

CHAPTER XXIV. WHERE BUDDHA FINALLY RENOUNCED THE WORLD, AND WHERE HE DIED.
[Chinese]

East from here four yojanas, there is the place where the heir-apparent sent back Chaṇḍaka, 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 Kuśanagara,3 on the north of which, between two trees,4 on the bank of the Nairañjanâ5 river, is the place where the World-honoured one, with his head to the north, attained to pari-nirvâṇa (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 Vajrapâṇi laid aside his golden club,8 and where the eight kings divided the relics (of the burnt body)9:—at all these places were built topes and monasteries, all of which are now existing.

[x]
VII. BUDDHA’S DYING INSTRUCTIONS.

[x]
VIII. BUDDHA’S DEATH.

[x]
IX. DIVISION OF BUDDHA’S RELICS.

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 Lichchhavis10 wished to follow Buddha to (the place of) his pari-nirvâṇa, 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.

_______________

Notes:

1 This was on the night when Śâkyamuni finally left his palace and family to fulfil the course to which he felt that he was called. Chaṇḍaka, in Pâli Channa, was the prince’s charioteer, and in sympathy with him. So also was the white horse Kanthaka (Kanthakanam Aśvarâja), 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 Trayastriṃśas 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 炭, not 灰. Rémusat has ‘la tour des charbons.’ It was over the place of Buddha’s cremation.
3 In Pâli Kusinârâ. It got its name from the Kuśa 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 Benâres, and 80 miles due east of Kapilavastu.’
4 The Śâla tree, the Shorea robusta, which yields the famous teak wood.
5 Confounded, according to Eitel, even by Hsüan-chwang, with the Hiraṇyavatî, which flows past the city on the south.
6 A Brahmân of Benâres, said to have been 120 years old, who came to learn from Buddha the very night he died. Ânanda 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 Brahmân was converted and attained at once to Arhatship. Eitel says that he attained to nirvâṇa a few moments before Śâkyamuni; 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 Kusinârâ) 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 Fâ-hien witnessed in Ceylon, chap. xxxix.
8 The name Vajrapâṇi 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 Śakra. 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 Kuśanagara were called mallas, ‘strong or mighty heroes;’ so also were those of Pâvâ and Vaiśâlî; and a question arises whether the language may not refer to some story which Fâ-hien had heard,—something which they did on this great occasion. Vajrapâṇi 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 Kuśanagara, Pâvâ, Vaiśâlî, and other kingdoms. Kings, princes, brahmâns,—each wanted the whole relic; but they agreed to an eightfold division at the suggestion of the brahmân Droṇa.
10 These ‘strong heroes’ were the chiefs of Vaiśâlî, 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 Vaiśâlî, 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 Hajipûr. See Beal’s Revised Version, p. lii.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:25 am

CHAPTER XXV. VAIŚÂLÎ. THE TOPE CALLED ‘WEAPONS LAID DOWN.’ THE COUNCIL OF VAIŚÂLÎ.
[Chinese]

East from this city ten yojanas, (the travellers) came to the kingdom of Vaiśâlî. North of the city so named is a large forest, having in it the double-galleried vihâra1 where Buddha dwelt, and the tope over half the body of Ânanda.2 Inside the city the woman Âmbapâlî3 built a vihâra 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 Âmbapâlî presented to Buddha, in which he might reside. When Buddha was about to attain to his pari-nirvâṇa, 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 Ânanda, ‘In three months from this I will attain to pavi-nirvâṇa;’ and king Mâra9 had so fascinated and stupefied Ânanda, 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-nirvâṇa of Buddha, some Bhikshus of Vaiśâlî 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.

_______________

Notes:

1 It is difficult to tell what was the peculiar form of this vihâra 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 Âmbapâlî, Âmrapâlî, or Âmradarikâ, ‘the guardian of the Âmra (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 Kâśyapa Buddha, Śâkyamuni’s predecessor, she had been born a devi, and finally appeared in earth under an Âmra tree in Vaiśâlî. There again she fell into her old ways, and had a son by king Bimbisâra; but she was won over by Buddha to virtue and chastity, renounced the world, and attained to the state of an Ârhat. See the earliest account of Âmbapâlî’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;’ Rémusat, ‘C’est un lieu où je reviendrai bien longtemps après 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 Fâ-hien’s narrative will have sent the thoughts of some of my readers to the exposure of the infant Moses, as related in Exodus.
6 See chap. xiii, note 15.
7 Thus Śâkyamuni 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 Mâra 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 Vaśavartin on the top of the Kâmadhâtu. 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 Ânanda had asked him thrice, he would have postponed his death.
10 Or the Vinaya-piṭaka. 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 Râjagṛiha, shortly after Buddha’s death, under the presidency of Kâśyapa;—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 Fâ-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 Yaśas, or Yaśada, or Yedśaputtra, who had been a disciple of Ânanda, and must therefore have been a very old man.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:26 am

CHAPTER XXVI. REMARKABLE DEATH OF ÂNANDA.
[Chinese]

Four yojanas on from this place to the east brought the travellers to the confluence of the five rivers.1 When Ânanda was going from Magadha2 to Vaiśâlî, wishing his pari-nirvâṇa to take place (there), the devas informed king Ajâtaśatru3 of it, and the king immediately pursued him, in his own grand carriage, with a body of soldiers, and had reached the river. (On the other hand), the Lichchhavis of Vaiśâlî had heard that Ânanda was coming (to their city), and they on their part came to meet him. (In this way), they all arrived together at the river, and Ânanda considered that, if he went forward, king Ajâtaśatru would be very angry, while, if he went back, the Lichchhavis would resent his conduct. He thereupon in the very middle of the river burnt his body in a fiery ecstasy of Samâdhi,4 and his pari-nirvâṇa was attained. He divided his body (also) into two, (leaving) the half of it on each bank; so that each of the two kings got one half as a (sacred) relic, and took it back (to his own capital), and there raised a tope over it.

_______________

Notes:

1 This spot does not appear to have been identified. It could not be far from Patna.
2 Magadha was for some time the headquarters of Buddhism; the holy land, covered with vihâras; a fact perpetuated, as has been observed in a previous note, in the name of the present Behâr, the southern portion of which corresponds to the ancient kingdom of Magadha.
3 In Singhalese, Ajasat. See the account of his conversion in M. B., pp. 321–326. He was the son of king Bimbisâra, who was one of the first royal converts to Buddhism. Ajasat murdered his father, or at least wrought his death; and was at first opposed to Śâkyamuni, and a favourer of Devadatta. When converted, he became famous for his liberality in almsgiving.
4 Eitel has a long article (pp. 114, 115) on the meaning of Samâdhi, which is one of the seven sections of wisdom (bodhyanga). Hardy defines it as meaning ‘perfect tranquillity;’ Turnour, as ‘meditative abstraction;’ Burnouf, as ‘self-control;’ and Edkins, as ‘ecstatic reverie.’ ‘Samâdhi,’ says Eitel, ‘signifies the highest pitch of abstract, ecstatic meditation; a state of absolute indifference to all influences from within or without; a state of torpor of both the material and spiritual forces of vitality; a sort of terrestrial nirvâṇa, consistently culminating in total destruction of life.’ He then quotes apparently the language of the text, ‘He consumed his body by Agni (the fire of) Samâdhi,’ and says it is ‘a common expression for the effects of such ecstatic, ultra-mystic self-annihilation.’ All this is simply ‘a darkening of counsel by words without knowledge.’ Some facts concerning the death of Ânanda are hidden beneath the darkness of the phraseology, which it is impossible for us to ascertain. By or in Samâdhi he burns his body in the very middle of the river, and then he divides the relic of the burnt body into two parts (for so evidently Fâ-hien intended his narration to be taken), and leaves one half on each bank. The account of Ânanda’s death in Nien-chʽang’s ‘History of Buddha and the Patriarchs’ is much more extravagant. Crowds of men and devas are brought together to witness it. The body is divided into four parts. One is conveyed to the Tushita heaven; a second, to the palace of a certain Nâga king; a third is given to Ajâtaśatru; and the fourth to the Lichchhavis. What it all really means I cannot tell.
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Re: Buddhistic Kingdoms, an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-H

Postby admin » Mon Apr 26, 2021 5:26 am

CHAPTER XXVII. PÂṬALIPUTTRA OR PATNA, IN MAGADHA. KING AŚOKA’S SPIRIT-BUILT PALACE AND HALLS. THE BUDDHIST BRAHMAN, RÂDHA-SÂMI. DISPENSARIES AND HOSPITALS.
[Chinese]

Having crossed the river, and descended south for a yojana, (the travellers) came to the town of Pâṭaliputtra,1 in the kingdom of Magadha, the city where king Aśoka2 ruled. The royal palace and halls in the midst of the city, which exist now as of old, were all made by spirits which he employed, and which piled up the stones, reared the walls and gates, and executed the elegant carving and inlaid sculpture-work,—in a way which no human hands of this world could accomplish.

King Aśoka had a younger brother who had attained to be an Arhat, and resided on Gṛidhra-kûṭa3 hill, finding his delight in solitude and quiet. The king, who sincerely reverenced him, wished and begged him (to come and live) in his family, where he could supply all his wants. The other, however, through his delight in the stillness of the mountain, was unwilling to accept the invitation, on which the king said to him, ‘Only accept my invitation, and I will make a hill for you inside the city.’ Accordingly, he provided the materials of a feast, called to him the spirits, and announced to them, ‘To-morrow you will all receive my invitation; but as there are no mats for you to sit on, let each one bring (his own seat).’ Next day the spirits came, each one bringing with him a great rock, (like) a wall, four or five paces square, (for a seat). When their sitting was over, the king made them form a hill with the large stones piled on one another, and also at the foot of the hill, with five large square stones, to make an apartment, which might be more than thirty cubits long, twenty cubits wide, and more than ten cubits high.

In this city there had resided a great Brahmân,4 named Râdha-sâmi,5 a professor of the mahâyâna, of clear discernment and much wisdom, who understood everything, living by himself in spotless purity. The king of the country honoured and reverenced him, and served him as his teacher. If he went to inquire for and greet him, the king did not presume to sit down alongside of him; and if, in his love and reverence, he took hold of his hand, as soon as he let it go, the Brahmân made haste to pour water on it and wash it. He might be more than fifty years old, and all the kingdom looked up to him. By means of this one man, the Law of Buddha was widely made known, and the followers of other doctrines did not find it in their power to persecute the body of monks in any way.

By the side of the tope of Aśoka, there has been made a mahâyâna monastery, very grand and beautiful; there is also a hînayâna one; the two together containing six or seven hundred monks. The rules of demeanour and the scholastic arrangements6 in them are worthy of observation.

Shamans of the highest virtue from all quarters, and students, inquirers wishing to find out truth and the grounds of it, all resort to these monasteries. There also resides in this monastery a Brahmân teacher, whose name also is Mañjuśrî,7 whom the Shamans of greatest virtue in the kingdom, and the mahâyâna Bhikshus honour and look up to.

The cities and towns of this country are the greatest of all in the Middle Kingdom. The inhabitants are rich and prosperous, and vie with one another in the practice of benevolence and righteousness. Every year on the eighth day of the second month they celebrate a procession of images. They make a four-wheeled car, and on it erect a structure of four storeys by means of bamboos tied together. This is supported by a king-post, with poles and lances slanting from it, and is rather more than twenty cubits high, having the shape of a tope. White and silk-like cloth of hair8 is wrapped all round it, which is then painted in various colours. They make figures of devas, with gold, silver, and lapis lazuli grandly blended and having silken streamers and canopies hung out over them. On the four sides are niches, with a Buddha seated in each, and a Bodhisattva standing in attendance on him. There may be twenty cars, all grand and imposing, but each one different from the others. On the day mentioned, the monks and laity within the borders all come together; they have singers and skilful musicians; they pay their devotion with flowers and incense. The Brahmâns come and invite the Buddhas to enter the city. These do so in order, and remain two nights in it. All through the night they keep lamps burning, have skilful music, and present offerings. This is the practice in all the other kingdoms as well. The Heads of the Vaiśya families in them establish in the cities houses for dispensing charity and medicines. All the poor and destitute in the country, orphans, widowers, and childless men, maimed people and cripples, and all who are diseased, go to those houses, and are provided with every kind of help, and doctors examine their diseases. They get the food and medicines which their cases require, and are made to feel at ease; and when they are better, they go away of themselves.

When king Aśoka destroyed the seven topes, (intending) to make eighty-four thousand,9 the first which he made was the great tope, more than three le to the south of this city. In front of this there is a footprint of Buddha, where a vihâra has been built. The door of it faces the north, and on the south of it there is a stone pillar, fourteen or fifteen cubits in circumference, and more than thirty cubits high, on which there is an inscription, saying, ‘Aśoka gave the jambudvipa to the general body of all the monks, and then redeemed it from them with money. This he did three times.’10 North from the tope 300 or 400 paces, king Aśoka built the city of Ne-le.11 In it there is a stone pillar, which also is more than thirty feet high, with a lion on the top of it. On the pillar there is an inscription recording the things which led to the building of Ne-le, with the number of the year, the day, and the month.

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Notes:

1 The modern Patna, lat. 25° 28′ N., lon. 85° 15′ E. The Sanskrit name means ‘The city of flowers.’ It is the Indian Florence.
2 See chap. x, note 3. Aśoka transferred his court from Râjagṛiha to Pâṭaliputtra, and there, in the eighteenth year of his reign, he convoked the third Great Synod,—according, at least, to southern Buddhism. It must have been held a few years before B.C. 250; Eitel says in 246.
3 ‘The Vulture-hill;’ so called because Mâra, according to Buddhist tradition, once assumed the form of a vulture on it to interrupt the meditation of Ânanda; or, more probably, because it was a resort of vultures. It was near Râjagṛiha, the earlier capital of Aśoka, so that Fâ-hien connects a legend of it with his account of Patna. It abounded in caverns, and was famous as a resort of ascetics.
4 A Brahmân by caste, but a Buddhist in faith.
5 So, by the help of Julien’s ‘Méthode,’ I transliterate the Chinese characters 羅太私迷. Beal gives Râdhasvâmi, his Chinese text having a 婆 between 私 and 迷. I suppose the name was Râdhasvâmi or Râdhasâmi.
6 庠序, the names of two kinds of schools, often occurring in the Lî Kî and Mencius. Why should there not have been schools in those monasteries in India as there were in China? Fâ-hien himself grew up with other boys in a monastery, and no doubt had to ‘go to school.’ And the next sentence shows us there might be schools for more advanced students as well as for the Śrâmaṇeras.
7 See chap. xvi, note 25. It is perhaps with reference to the famous Bodhisattva that the Brahmân here is said to be ‘also’ named Mañjuśrî.
8 ? Cashmere cloth.
9 See chap. xxiii, note 3.
10 We wish that we had more particulars of this great transaction, and that we knew what value in money Aśoka set on the whole world. It is to be observed that he gave it to the monks, and did not receive it from them. Their right was from him, and he bought it back. He was the only ‘Power’ that was.
11 We know nothing more of Ne-le. It could only have been a small place; an outpost for the defence of Pâṭaliputtra.
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