by Fa-Hien | A.D. 399-414 | 51,094 words
Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hien of his Travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline. Translated and annotated with a Corean recension of the Chinese text by James Legge...
(The travellers), going on from this three le to the south, came to a mountain named Gurupada, inside which Mahakasyapa even now is. He made a cleft, and went down into it, though the place where he entered would not (now) admit a man. Having gone down very far, there was a hole on one side, and there the complete body of Kasyapa (still) abides. Outside the hole (at which he entered) is the earth with which he had washed his hands. If the people living thereabouts have a sore on their heads, they plaster on it some of the earth from this, and feel immediately easier. On this mountain, now as of old, there are Arhats abiding. Devotees of our Law from the various countries in that quarter go year by year to the mountain, and present offerings to Kasyapa; and to those whose hearts are strong in faith there come Arhats at night, and talk with them, discussing and explaining their doubts, and disappearing suddenly afterwards.
On this hill hazels grow luxuriously; and there are many lions, tigers, and wolves, so that people should not travel incautiously.
Footnotes and references:
“Fowl’s-foot hill,” “with three peaks, resembling the foot of a chicken. It lies seven miles south-east of Gaya, and was the residence of Mahakasyapa, who is said to be still living inside this mountain.” So Eitel says, p. 58; but this chapter does not say that Kasyapa is in the mountain alive, but that his body entire is in a recess or hole in it. Hardy (M. B., p. 97) says that after Kasyapa Buddha’s body was burnt, the bones still remained in their usual position, presenting the appearance of a perfect skeleton. It is of him that the chapter speaks, and not of the famous disciple of Sakyamuni, who also is called Mahakasyapa. This will appear also on a comparison of Eitel’s articles on “Mahakasyapa” and “Kasyapa Buddha.”
Was it a custom to wash the hands with “earth,” as is often done with sand?
This I conceive to be the meaning here.