The Fo-Sho-Hing-Tsan-King (A Life of Buddha)

by Samuel Beal | 1883 | 108,941 words

This book is called “A Life of Buddha” by Asvaghosha Bodhisattva, in Chinese known as the “Fo-Sho-Hing-Tsan-King”. It was translated from Sanskrit into Chinese by Dharmaraksha (or Dharmakshara) A.D. 420. The most reliable of the lives of Buddha known in China is that translated in the present volume, the Buddhacarita-kavya. It was no doubt written...

Lives of Buddha (4): Ta-tseu-sui-ying-pen-k’i-king

The next history of Buddha in point of the date of its translation is the Ta-tseu-sui-ying-pen-k’i-king.

This is the work of an Upāsaka belonging to the Wu dynasty (222-264 A.D.), who came to China towards the end of the After-Han dynasty, and was a diligent translator. The work before us is a brief one, divided into two parts, without any subdivision into sections. The first part, which resembles the translation last noticed, takes us to the defeat of Māra. The second includes in it a description of Buddha's condition as the 'fully enlightened,' and also the conversion of the fire-worshipping Kāśyapas. With respect to his work of preaching, this book has the peculiarity of excluding all mention of the journey to Benares after the enlightenment. It makes the conversion of the five men take place near the Bodhi tree in Magadha, and omits all mention of Yasa, Śāriputra, or Maudgalyāyana. The account of the conversion of the Kāśyapas is full and circumstantial. It agrees in a marked way with the particulars given in the Manual of Buddhism (Spence Hardy, pp. 188-191 ). The illustrations of this event, given in the Sanchi Sculptures (plates xxiv, xxxi, xxxii, 1st ed.), show that it was a popular episode in the history of Buddha at the time of the completion of the Sanchi Stūpa. It is also given in the following pages in Aśvaghoṣa's work, so that we cannot doubt this event formed part of the recognised work of Buddha as a teacher. This short life therefore includes in it the three portions known in the South as the distant, intermediate, and proximate epochs. The last named, however, differs materially from the more expanded account found in other books, and is in fact confined to the labour of the conversion of the five men and the three Kāśyapa brothers.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: