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 (11): Sang-kia-lo-c’ha-sho-tsih-fo-hing-king

There is a life of Buddha translated. by an Indian priest of Cophene, about A.D. 445, which is called Săng-kia-lo-c’ha-sho-tsih-fo-hing-king.

This appears to have been written by a priest called Saṅgharakṣa, who was born in the kingdom of Su-lai, and came to Gandhara when Kaniṣka flourished. This monarch is called in the text Kien-to-ki-ni-wang. The symbols Kien-to correspond with the family title given elsewhere to Kaniṣka, viz. Can-tan, i.e. Candana or sandal-wood (see the work Tsah-pao-tsang-king in the Indian Office Collection of Buddhist Books, kiouen vi, fol. 12 [Catalogue, case lxvi]). This Chinese title may probably correspond with the tribal name of Guṣan, or perhaps (according to Oldenberg) with the title Koiranos, of the coins. But, in any case Saṅgharakṣa is said to have lived during the time of this monarch, and to have written the life of Buddha, which was afterwards translated into Chinese by Saṅghabhadanta (?). This work is in 5 kiouen; it comprises the usual stories from the birth of Buddha to the distribution of his relics after his death. There is at the end a curious story about Aśoka, who reigned too years after the Nirvāṇa. He is said to have had a dream which induced him to assemble the Bhikṣus in a convocation. He was told by them that there was in Rājagṛha a casket on which there was a record enshrined, or a gold plate, which had been delivered by Buddha. On opening the casket a prophecy was found stating that in Magadha, in the city of Rājagṛha, there were two householders whose two sons were called Vijayamitra and Vasudatta; of these the former, in consequence of his merit in giving a ball of earth to Buddha, should be born 100 years after as Aśoka rāja of the Maurya family. In consequence of this prophecy Aśoka built 84,000 shrines for the relics of Buddha, obeying in this the direction of his dream, that he should cause the śarīras of the holy one to be everywhere diffused.

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