Buddhist records of the Western world (Xuanzang)

by Samuel Beal | 1884 | 224,928 words | ISBN-10: 8120811070

This is the English translation of the travel records of Xuanzang (or, Hiuen Tsiang): a Chinese Buddhist monk who traveled to India during the seventh century. This book recounts his documents his visit to India and neighboring countries, and reflects the condition of those countries during his time, including temples, culture, traditions and fest...

Chapter 34 - Country of Kia-pi-shi (Kapiśa or Kapisha)

Note: Kapiśa is the Kapisa (or Kagisa) of Ptolemy, and the Capissa of Pliny, the capital of a district called Capissene.[1]

This country is 4000 li or so in circuit. On the north it abuts on the Snowy Mountains, and on three sides it borders on the "black ridge" (the Hindu Kush). The capital of the country is lO li or so in circuit. It produces cereals of all sorts, and many kinds of fruit-trees. The shen horses are bred here, and there is also the scent (scented root) called Yu-kin.[2] Here also are found objects of merchandise from all parts. The climate is cold and windy. The people are cruel and fierce; their language is coarse and rude; their marriage rites a mere intermingling of the sexes. Their literature is like that of the Tukhāra country, but the customs, common language, and rules of behaviour are somewhat different. For clothing they use hair garments (wool); their garments are trimmed with fur. In commerce they use gold and silver coins, and also little copper coins, which in appearance and stamp[3] differ from those of other countries. The king is a Kṣattriya by caste. He is of a shrewd character (nature),[4] and being brave and determined, he has brought into subjection the neighbouring countries, some ten of which he rules. He cherishes his people[5] with affection, and reverences much the three precious objects of worship. Every year[6] he makes a silver figure of Buddha eighteen feet high, and at the same time he convokes an assembly called the Mokṣa Mahāpariṣad when he gives alms to the poor and wretched, and relieves the bereaved (widows and bereaved).

There are about 100 convents in this country and some 6000 priests. They mostly study the rules of the Great Vehicle. The stūpas and saṅghārāmas are of an imposing height, and are built on high level spots, from which they may be seen on every side, shining in their grandeur (purity).[7] There are some ten temples of the Devas, and 1000 or so of heretics (different ways of religion); there are naked ascetics, and others who cover themselves with ashes, and some who make chaplets of bones, which they wear as crowns on their heads.[8]

To the east of the capita1[9] 3 or 4 li, at the foot of a mountain in the north, is a great saṅghārāma with 300 or so priests in it. These belong to the Little Vehicle and adopt its teaching.[10]

According to tradition, Kaniṣka Rāja of Gandhāra[11] in old days having subdued all the neighbouring provinces and brought into obedience people of distant countries, he governed by his army a wide territory, even to the east of the T'sung-ling mountains. Then the tribes who occupy the territory to the west of the river,[12] fearing the power of his arms, sent hostages to him. Kaniṣka-rāja having received the hostages,[13] treated them with singular attention, and ordered for them separate establishments for the cold and hot weather; during the cold they resided in India and its different parts, in the summer they came back to Kapiśa, in the autumn and spring they remained in the kingdom of Gandhāra; and so he founded saṅghāramas for the hostages according to the three seasons. This convent (of which we are now speaking) is the one they occupied during the summer, and it was built for that purpose.[14] Hence the pictures of these hostages on the walls; their features, and clothing, and ornaments are like the people of Eastern Hia (China).[15] Afterwards, when they were permitted to return to their own country, they were remembered in their old abode,[16] and notwithstanding the intervening mountains and rivers, they were without cessation reverenced with offerings, so that down to the present time the congregation of priests on each rainy season[17] (frequent this spot); and on the breaking up of the fast they convene an assembly and pray for the happiness of the hostages,—a pious custom still existing.

To the south of the eastern door of the hall of Buddha belonging to this saṅghārāma there is a figure of the Great Spirit King;[18] beneath his right foot they have hollowed the earth for concealing treasures therein. This is the treasury place of the hostages, therefore we find this inscription, "When the saṅghārāma decays let men take (of the treasure) and repair it." Not long ago there was a petty (frontier) king of a covetous mind and of a wicked and cruel disposition; hearing of the quantity of jewels and precious substances concealed in this convent, he drove away the priests and began digging for them. The King of the Spirits had on his head the figure of a parrot, which now began to flap its wings and to utter screams. The earth shook and quaked, the king and his army were thrown down prostrate on the ground; after a while, arising from the earth, he confessed his fault and returned.

Above a mountain pass[19] to the north of this convent there are several stone chambers; it was in these the hostages practised religious meditation. In these recesses many and various gems (precious things) are concealed: on the side there is an inscription that the Yakṣas (Yo-cha) guard and defend the places (precincts). If any one wishes to enter and rob the treasures, the Yakṣas by spiritual transformation appear in different forms, sometimes as lions, sometimes as snakes, and as savage beasts and poisonous reptiles; under various appearances they exhibit their rage. So no one dares to attempt to take the treasures.

At 2 or 3 li to the west of the stone chambers, above a great mountain pass,[20] there is a figure of Kwan-tsz'-tsai Bodhisattva;[21] those who with sincere faith desire (vow or pray) to see him, to them the Bodhisattva appears coming forth from the image, his body of marvellous beauty, and he gives rest and reassurance to the travellers.

Thirty li or so to the south-east of the capital we arrive at the convent of Rāhula (Ho-lo-hu-lo); by its side is a stūpa about 100 feet in height. On sacred days (fast days) this building reflects a brilliant light. Above the cupola,[22] from between the interstices of the stone, there exudes a black scented oil, whilst in the quiet night may be heard the sounds of music. According to tradition, this stūpa was formerly built by Rāhula, a great minister of this country. Having completed this work of merit (religious work), he saw in a night-dream a man who said to him, "This stūpa you have built has no sacred relic (she-li) in it as yet; tomorrow, when they come to offer, you must make your request to the king" (for the offering brought).

On the morrow, entering the royal court, he pressed his claim (or he advanced and requested), and said: "Your unworthy subject ventures to make a request." The king replied: "And what does my lord require?" Answering, he said, "That your majesty would be pleased to favour me by conferring on me the first[23] offering made this day." The king replied: "I consent."

Rāhula on this went forth and stood at the palace gate. Looking at all who came towards the spot, suddenly he beheld a man holding in his hand a relic casket (pitcher). The great minister said, "What is your will? What have you to offer?" He replied, "Some relics of Buddha." The minister answered, "I will protect them for you. I will first go and tell the king." Rāhula, fearing lest the king on account of the great value of the relics should repent him of his former promise, went quickly to the saṅghārāma and mounted the stūpa; by the power of his great faith, the stone cupola opened itself, and then he placed the relics therein. This being done, he was quickly coming out when he caught the hem of his garment in the stone.[24] The king sent to pursue him, but by the time the messengers arrived at the stūpa, the stones had closed over him; and this is the reason why a black oily substance exudes from the crevices of the building.

To the south[25] of the city 40 li or so, we come to the town of Si-pi-to-fa-la-sse (śvetavāras).[26] In the case of earthquakes, and even when the tops of the mountains fall, there is no commotion around this city.

Thirty li or so to the south of the town of Si-po-to-fa-la-sse we come to a mountain called 'O-lu-no (Aruṇa).[27] The crags and precipices of this mountain are of a vast height, its caverns and valleys are dark and deep. Each year the peak increases in height several hundred feet, until it approaches the height of Mount Tsu-na-hi-lo (śunagir)[28] in the kingdom of Tsu-ku-cha (Tsaukūṭa);[29] then when it thus faces it, suddenly it falls down again. I have heard this story in neighbouring countries. When first the heavenly spirit śuna came from far to this mountain desiring to rest, the spirit of the mountain, affrighted, shook the surrounding valleys. The heavenly spirit said, "Because you have no wish to entertain me, therefore this tumult and confusion; if you had but entertained me for a little while, I should have conferred on you great riches and treasure; but now I go to Tsu-ku-cha to the mountain Tsu-na-hi-lo, and I will visit it every year. On these occasions, when the king and his ministers offer me their tribute, then you shall stand face to face with me." Therefore Mount 'O-lu-no having increased to the height {aforesaid), suddenly falls down again at the top.

About 200 li to the north-west of the royal city we come to a great snowy mountain, on the summit of which is a lake. Here whoever asks for rain or prays for fine weather, according to his request so he receives.

Tradition says in old time there was an Arhat (Lo-han) belonging to Gandhāra (Kien-t'o-lo) who constantly received the religious offerings of the Nāga king of this lake. On the arrival of the time for the mid-day meal, by his spiritual power he rose with the mat on which he sat into the air, and went (to the place where the Nāga dwelt). His attendant, a śrāmaṇera (novice), secretly catching hold of the under part of the mat, when the time came for the Arhat to go, was transported in a moment with him (to the palace of the Nāga). On arriving at the palace, the Nāga saw the śrāmaṇera. The Nāga-rāja asking them to partake of his hospitality, he provided the Arhat with "immortal food," but gave to the śrāmaṇera food used by men. The Arhat having finished his meal, began then to preach for the good of the Nāga, whilst he desired the śrāmaṇemacron;ra, as was his custom, to wash out his alms-bowl. Now the bowl happened to have in it some fragments of (the heavenly) food. Startled at the fragrance of this food,[30] forthwith there arose in him an evil determination (vow). Irritated with his master, and hating the Nāga, he uttered the prayer (vow) that the force of all his religious merit might now be brought into operation with a view to deprive the Nāga of life, and, "May I," he said, "myself become a Nāga-king."

No sooner had the śrāmaṇera made this vow than the Nāga perceived his head to be in pain.

The Arhat having finished his preaching concerning the duty of repentance, the Nāga-rāja confessed his sins, condemning himself. But the śrāmaṇera still cherishing hatred in his heart, confessed not. And now having returned to the saṅghārāma, in very truth the prayer he had put up in consequence of the power of his religious merit was accomplished, and that very night he died and became a Nāga-rāja. Then filled with rage, he entered the lake and killed the other Nāga king, and took possession of his palace; moreover, he attached to himself the whole fraternity of his class (i.e., all the Nāgas) to enable him to carry out his original purpose. Then fiercely raising the winds and tempests, he rooted up the trees and aimed at the destruction of the convent.

At this time Kaniṣka-rāja, surprised at the ravages, inquired of the Arhat as to the cause, on which he told the whole circumstance. The king therefore, for the sake of the Nāga,[31] founded a saṅghārāma at the foot of the Snowy Mountains, and raised a stūpa about 100 feet in height. The Nāga, cherishing his former hatred, raised the wind and rain. The king persevering in his purpose of charity, the Nāga redoubled his fury (angry poison), and became exceedingly fierce. Six times he destroyed the saṅghārāma and the stūpa, and on the seventh occasion Kaniṣka, confused by his failure, determined to fill the Nāga's lake and overthrow his palace. He came therefore with his soldiers to the foot of the Snowy Mountains.

Then the Nāga-rāja, being terrified and shaken with apprehension, changed himself into an aged Brāhmaṇ, and bowing down before the king's elephant, he remonstrated with the king, and said, "Mahārāja, because of your accumulated merit in former births, you have now been born a king of men, and you have no wish which is not gratified. Why then to-day are you seeking a quarrel with a Nāga? Nāgas are only brutish creatures. Nevertheless amongst lower creatures[32] the Nāga possesses great power, which cannot be resisted. He rides on the clouds, drives the winds, passes through space, and glides over the waters; no human power can conquer him.[33] Why then is the king's heart so angry? You have now raised the army of your country to fight with a single dragon; if you conquer, your renown will not spread very far;[34] but if you are conquered, then you will suffer the humiliation of defeat. Let me advise the king to withdraw his troops."

The king Kaniṣka hesitating to comply, the dragon returned to his lake. His voice, like the thunderclap, shook the earth, and the fierce winds tore up the trees, whilst stones and sand pelted down like rain; the sombre clouds obscured the air, so that the army and the horses were filled with terror. The king then paid his adoration to the Three Precious ones, and sought their help, saying, " My abounding merit during former births has brought about my state as king of men. By my power I have restrained the strong and conquered the world (Jambudvīpa). But now (as it appears), by the onslaught of a dragon-beast overcome, this, verily, is proof of my poor merit! Let the full power of all my merit now appear!"

Then from both his shoulders there arose a great flame and smoke.[35] The dragon fled, the winds hushed, the mists were melted, and the clouds were scattered. Then the king commanded each man of his army to take a stone and thus to fill up the dragon lake.

Again the dragon king changed himself into a Brāhman, and asked the king once more, "I am the Nāga king of yonder lake. Affrighted by your power, I tender my submission. Would that the king in pity might forgive my former faults! The king indeed loves to defend and cherish all animated beings, why then alone against me is he incensed? If the king kill me, then we both shall fall into an 'evil way'—the king, for killing; I, for cherishing an angry mind. Deeds and their consequences will be plainly manifested when the good and evil are brought to light."

The king then agreed with the Nāga that if hereafter he should again be rebellious there should be no forgiveness. The Nāga said, "Because of my evil deeds I have received a dragon form. The nature of Nāgas is fierce and wicked, so that they are unable to control themselves; if by chance an angry heart rises in me, it will be from forgetfulness of our present compact. The king may now build the saṅghārāma once more; I will not venture to destroy it again. Each day let the king send a man to observe the mountain top; if it is black with clouds, then let him sound the ghaṇṭā(drum or cymbal) loudly; when I hear the sound of it, my evil purpose will subside"

Forthwith the king renewed his work in raising the saṅghārāma and stūpa. People look out for the clouds and mists on the mountain top down to the present day. Tradition says that in this stūpa there is a considerable quantity (a pint, or shing) of relics[36] of Tathāgata, consisting of his bones and flesh, and that wonderful miracles are wrought thereby, which it would be difficult to name separately. At one time, from within the stūpa there arose suddenly a smoke, which was quickly followed by a fierce flame of fire. On this occasion the people said the stūpa was consumed. They gazed for a long time till the fire was expended and the smoke disappeared, when they beheld a śarīra like a white pearl gem,[37] which moved with a circular motion round the surmounting pole of the stūpa; it then separated itself and ascended up on high to the region of the clouds, and after scintillating there awhile, again descended with a circular motion.[38]

To the north-west of the capital there is a large river[39] on the southern bank of which, in a convent of an old king, there is a milk-tooth of śākya Bodhisattva; it is about an inch in length.

To the south-east of this convent there is another, which is also called the convent of the old king; in this is a piece of the skull-bone of Tathāgata; the surface of it is about an inch in breadth, its colour a yellowish white; the little hair orifices are plainly seen. There is, moreover, a hair-top[40] of Tathāgata of a dark auburn colour; the hair turns to the right; drawing it out, it is about a foot long; when folded up it is only about half an inch. These three objects are reverenced with offerings by the king and the great ministers on each of the six fast (holy) days.

To the south-west of the convent of the skull-bone is the convent of the wife of the old king, in which there is a gilded stūpa (copper gilt), about 100 feet in height. Tradition says in this stūpa is about a pint of the relics of Buddha. On the fifteenth day of each month, in the evening, it reflects a circular halo of glory which lights up the dew-dish.[41] Thus it shines till the morning, when it gradually disappears and enters the stūpa.

To the south-west of the town is Mount Pi-lo-sa-lo (Pīlusāra);[42] the mountain spirit takes the form of an elephant, hence the name. In old days, when Tathāgata was alive, the spirit, called Pīlusāra (siang-kien, i.e., elephant-fixed), asked the Lord of the World and 1200 Arhats (to partake of his hospitality). On the mountain crag is a great solid rock; here it was Tathāgata received the offerings of the spirit. Afterwards Aśoka-rāja erected on this same rock a stūpa about 100 feet in height. It is now called the stūpa of the Elephant-strength (Pīlusāra). They say that in this also is about a pint measure of the relics of Tathāgata.

To the north of the Pīlusāra Stūpa is a mountain cavern, below which is a Nāga fountain. It was here that Tathāgata, having received from the spirit some food (rice) with the Arhats, cleansed his mouth and rubbed his teeth with a piece of willow branch.[43] This he planted in the ground, and it forthwith took root, and is now a bushy grove. Afterwards men built here a saṅghārama, and called it the convent of the Pi-to-kia (the willow twig).

Going eastward from this 600 li or so, across a continuation of mountains and valleys, the peaks being of a stupendous height, and skirting the "black ridge,"[44] we enter North India, and crossing the frontier, come to the country of Lan-po (Lamghān).

Footnotes and references:


Kapiśa is the Kapisa (or Kagisa) of Ptolemy (Geog., lib. vi. c. 18, 4), and the Capissa of Pliny (H. N., lib. vi. c. 23. 25), the capital of a district called Capissene. It is perhaps also the Caphusa of Solinus (Polyh., c. 54). See Lassen's discussion, Ind. Alterth., vol. iii. pp. 135, 591, 879-889. Ptolemy placed it 155 miles N. 15°E. from Kaboura or Kabul, the Kāpūl or Kāvul of the Bundahiś; but this distance is far too great. Julien supposes the district to have occupied the Panjshir and Tagao valleys in the north border of Kohistān, and that the capital may have been either in the valley of the Nijrao; or of the Tagao;. Conf. Baber's Mem., pp. 144 f.; Masson, Narrative of Jour., vol. iii. p 168; Wilson, Ariana Ant., p. 117; Pānini has Kāpiśī (iv. 2, 99).


Curcuma (Jul.) The Curcuma belongs to the natural order of Zingiberacece; the different species are stemless plants with tuberous roots. The scented species referred to in the text is probably the Curcuma zedoaria, or broad-leaved turmeric. The tubers are aromatic, and when ground the powder is used not only as a stimulating condiment in curry powders, etc.., but as a perfume. In Sanskrit it is called haridrā, with forty-six synonyms.


The original, kwei keu mu yang, has, I suspect, the meaning of "stamp and inscription;" literally it would mean the pattern or fashion (mu yang) of the compass and square (kwei keu), or the circular and square part are different, etc.. But the expression may also simply mean, "the size and form." It possibly refers to tho copper coins of Kanishka or Kanerki.


This passage may also be rendered: "He is distinguished for wisdom and tact; he is by nature brave and determined," etc.. Hwui-lih uses the expression ming lioh, instead of chi lioh; evidently alluding to his tact or shrewdness, by which he had brought the neighbouring countries into his power.


"The hundred families."


The expression sui certainly means "a year" or "yearly;" but it may also have the sense of "periodically." This would suit the context perhaps better, as the "great assemblies" were usually convoked "every five years."


It seems that the passage requires some such rendering as this. The symbol ch'hang indicates "a high level spot, from which there is a good prospect" (Medhurst). Mr. Simpson's account of the stūpas in the Jellalābād valley would favour this translation (Buddhist Architecture, a paper read by W. Simpson before the Royal Institute of British Architects, I2th January 1880). We may gather from the connection of stūpa and saṅghārāma in the text, that Hiuen Tsiang alludes to the stūpa with its vihāra.


The three sects here enumerated are known as (1) the Nirgranthas or Digambara Jainas; (2) Pāśupatas; and (3) Kapāladhārinas.


There is some difficulty in fixing the name and site of the capital of Kapiśa. General Cunningham identifies it with Opiān (Anc. Geog. of India, p. 19). His opinion is based on a statement I have not been able to verify, viz., that on leaving Bāmiyān, Hiuen Tsiang travelled 600 li in an easterly direction over "snowy mountains and black hil1s" to the capital of Kia-pi-shi. I can find no distance given either in the Si-yu-ki or by Hwui-lih. From Bāmiyān south-east to the "humid valley" is 200 li. After this the account simply says:"Going in an easterly direction, etc.., we come to Kia-pi-shi." Nor can I find any corroboration of the statement that "on leaving the capital of Kapisene, Hiuen Tsiang was accompanied by the king as far as the town of Kiu-lu-sa-pang, a distance of one yōjana to the northeast" (op. cit., p. 20). Hwui-lih indeed states (i. 266) that the king of Kapiśa accompanied the pilgrim 6 li from the frontiers of his kingdom; but that gives us no clue to the name or site of the capital. V. St. Martin makes Opian the capital of Fo-li-shi-sa-t'ang-na (Mém., tom. ii. p. 190). Hiuen Tsiang does not give the name of the chief city, but he places it 600 li to the west of Lan-po (Lamghān), which again is 100 li to the north-west of Na-kie-lo-ho (Nagarahāra). Supposing the site of Nagarahāra to be at the point of junction of the Kābul river with the Surkhar or Surkh-rud, we should have to place the capital of Kapiśa on the declivity of the Hindu Kush, not far from the little town of Ghorband, or perhaps near Kushān, 10 miles west of Opian.


I find in Julien's translation that this saṅghārāma was called Jin-kia-lan (the humane saṅghārāma, or, of "the man"). It is wanting in my text. India Office, No. 1503.


Kanishka-rāja, of Gandhāra. He is often called in Chinese Buddhist books "the Chandan Kanika" (see Fo-sho-hing-t'san-king, pages xxviii., xxix.) This may simply mean Kanishka of Gandhāra, the use of Chandana for gandha being common. The mountains of Gāndhāra are often explained as the "perfume mountains," as though from gandha. But in an old Buddhist map in my possession the Gāndhāra mountains are called the earth-holding (ti chi), as though gan were from an old root, gan or gên, and dhṛi, to hold. Kanishka was king of the Yueï-chi, and the rise of his dynasty is placed by Chinese authors in the first century B.C. On his coins he is styled in the corrupt Greek legends Kanêki Korano, and in the Baktrian-Pali legends and Manikyāla inscription he is called Kanishka the Kushāna, or "of the Gushana family," connecting him with the tribe called by the Chinese Kweï-shwang. Korano and Kushāna are only different forms of the same word. Prinsep, Essays, vol. i. pp. 145 f.; Lassen, Ind. Alt., vol. ii. pp. 806 f.; J. As. S. Ben., vol. xxxii. pp. 144 f.; Arch. Sur. W. Ind. Rep., vol. ii. p. 50; Num. Chron., N.S., vol. xiv. pp. 161 f. The date of Kanishka is yet undetermined. According to Lassen (Ind. Alt., vol. ii. (2d ed.) pp. 766, 768), he lived between A.D. 10 and A.D. 40. The Northern Buddhists place him (as we shall see farther on) 400 years after the Nirvāṇa. But as Hiuen Tsiang places Aśōka only 100 years after Buddha, the error appears to be in the date of the Nirvāṇa; and thus Kanishka was really about 300 years after Aśōka. Recent writers argue that Kanishka lived in the latter part of the first century, and that the śaka era (A.D. 78) originated with his reign. See Bühler, Ind. Ant., vol. vi. pp. 149 ff.; vol. vii. pp. 141 ff.; Oldenberg, ib., vol. x. pp. 213 ff.; Fergusson, Jour. R. As. Soc., N.S., vol. xii. pp. 261 ff.; Max Müller, India, p. 293. R. Davids has come to the conclusion that the Nirvāṇa is within a few years of 412 B.C. (Numismata Oriental., part vi. p. 56). If this could be established, it wou1d accord pretty well with the Northern legend referred to, and the date of Kanishka's power might have been, as Lassen supposes, between 10 A.D. and 40 A.D.


The district to the west of the river, i.e., the Yellow River, were the people of the Tangut empire. (For an explanation of the word Tangut, and other particulars, see Yule, Marco Polo, Vol. i. p. 209; Bretschneider, Med. Geog., p. 123). In my copy there is no mention made of "dependent princes" (Julien in loc.); the expression is "fan wei," which I take to be equivalent to "the associated tribes." The word fan is used for the Tibetans. This would explain Yule's remark (op. cit., p. 209) that "the word Tanggod (Tangut) is properly a Mongol plural designating certain tribes of Tibetan blood."


In Hwui-lih's account (Vie de Hiouen Thsang, p. 72), we are told there was only one hostage, and he was a son of the Emperor of China. There is a curious story found among the sermons of Aśvaghosha—who was contemporary with Kanishka—of a son of the Emperor of China coming to India to seek a cure for his blindness. He dwelt in a monastery in which there was a great preacher. On a certain occasion he preached so eloquently that the entire congregation was moved to tears. Some of these tears were applied to the eyes of the blind prince, and he recovered (Sermon 54). There was plainly an intercourse kept up between China, or the eastern frontiers of China, and North India from an early period.


The name of this convent is given by Hwui-lih (K. ii. fol. 10 a) as Sha-lo-kia, which is restored by Julien (t. ii. p. 503) doubtfully to Sharaka. Dr. Eitel (Handbook sub voc.) has followed him in this restoration. It seems to be referred to by I-Tsing in his account of the travels of Hwui-lun (Jour. R. As. Soc., N.S., vol. xiii. p. 570). I am of opinion that Sha-lo-kia ought to be restored to Serika, and that it was so called because it was built for the Chinese hostages or hostage. This name for China (Serika) indeed is not known in Chinese literature; but it is plain that this establishment was not only very rich, but also provided with celebrated mural paintings. I have already called attention (Abstract, etc.., p. 136 n.), to the way in which artists from Baktria were employed to paint the Buddhist vihāras at an early date, but more particularly, as it would seem, during the time of Kanishka; for Aśvaghōsha, who relates the story referred to, was a follower of Kanishka. Nothing would be more natural than that an artist or artists from Baktria should speak of this vihāra as the Serika vihāra; the common term for China being Sêrikê (Ptol., vi. 16, 1, 3, 4, 6, etc..; Pliny, H. N., lib. vi. c. 20, 5). This conjecture is confirmed by the translation of the term Sha-lo-kia given by Hiuen Tsiang. It is not given indeed in my copy, but in the original used by M. Julien the convent is called "the Saṅghārāma of men" (jin-kia-lan). This is restored by Julien doubtfully to Narasaṅghārāma (p. 42). But this (nara) is an epithet of the king of China, according to Arabian travellers (vid. supra, p. 14, n. 41). It seems, therefore, probable that this Saṅghārāma was originally called after the king's son by the Baktrian term, Serika.


The Eastern Hia people, i.e., the Chinese, in distinction from the Western Hia, i.e., the Tanguts. Bretschneider, Notes, Med. Geog., etc.., P. 35, n. 81.


So I understand the passage. It is not that the hostages remembered their old abode, but that the memory of the hostages remained with the priests of the Sha-lo-kia convent. Hence, after the summer rest was over, the priests used to hold a special assembly in order to invoke a blessing on their memory. M. Julien has translated it so in the Life of Hiouen Thsang, p. 72, but in this passage he has inverted the sense.


The rainy season (varsha), as is well known, was observed by the Buddhists as a period of retreat, not in the sense of fasting, or, as it has been translated, Lent, but for the purpose of shelter, and also, as stated in the Vinaya, to avoid trampling down the young herbage. After the three months' rest, of which there were two kinds,—viz., either the first three months, i.e., beginning at the appointed time, and continuing for three consecutive months, or else the second three months, that is, when through inability to begin at the appointed time the retreat was entered on a month later, and therefore lasted a month later,—the retreat was broken up, and presents, etc.., were made to the congregation.


This great spirit-rāja is the same as Vaiśravana, "the celebrated" (periklutos). He is called Mahākāla, "the great black one;" in Japan he is still called Dai Gakf, "the great black," and is generally figured as an old man of dwarfish size, with a sack on his back. I have often myself examined the figure on the hearths of the kitchens at Hakodate. He is in one sense the same as Kuvera. For further remarks on this point see Academy, July 3, 1880; Indian Antiquary, vol. ix. p. 203.


The convent was three or four li to the east of the capital, and at the foot of a northern mountain, which mountain formed one side of a pass. In General Cunningham's map referred to, there is such a northern mountain detached from the Paghman range, and a pass between it and the main line of hills. Just beyond this pass we find Chārikar, close to Opiān. If we may rely on these coincidences, the capital of Kapiśa would be to the west of this pass about a mile, whilst Chārikar would derive its name from the Sha-lo-kia monastery. The text, it must be noticed, does not require the mountain pass to be distinct from the northern mountain, at the base of which the convent was built, but it means that the chambers were excavated on the northern scarp of the pass. The context, moreover, requires this. For some interesting notices respecting the Buddhist caves of Afghanistān, see Jour. Roy. As. Soc., N.S., vol. xiv. pp. 319 ff.


The meaning is, above a high mountain side, i.e., as it seems, above a high peak, which would form the beginning of the pass on the western side.


Kwan-tsz'-tsai or Avalōkiteśvara, "the god that looks down." He is best known in Nepāl as Padmapāṇi; in Tibet he is called sPyan-ras-gzigs-dvang-phyug (pron. Chen-resi-vanchug); in China, as Kwan-yin; and in Japan as Kuan-non. In Sanskrit he is also known as Karuṇārṇava, Abhayamdada ("the remover of fear"), Abhyutgatarāja ("the great august king"), etc.. See Burnouf, Int. à l'Hist. d. Budd. Ind., (2d ed.), pp. 92, 101, 197-202, 557-559; Lotus, pp. 261 ff., 301, 352, 428; Trans. Roy. As. Soc., vol. ii. pp. 233, 239, 247, 253; Jour. Roy. As. Soc., N.S., vol. ii. pp. 136 ff., 411 ff.; Vassilief, Le Bouddh., pp. 125, 175, 178, 186, 197; Ind. Antiquary, vol. viii. pp. 249-253; Burgess, Cave Temples, pp. 357, etc..; Arch. Sur. Reprots, W. India, vol. iii. pp. 75, 76; vol. v. pp. 11, 14. He is generally described as "the god of mercy," because he hears the cries of men. Probably a relic or revival of the old worship of hill-gods. Hence his figure placed on this mountain-top.


Above "the covering shaped liked a pātra," i.e., the cupola or dome.


So it appears to me the passage should be translated, "the first offering." Julien renders it as if there were only a single offering.


That is, be caught his garment in the stone of the inner portion of the stūpa before he could escape to the exterior. The relic casket, as is well known, is placed in a chamber in the upper-middle part of the cupola or dome.


This bearing is given in my text; it seems to be wanting in Julien's.


Julien restores this name to Sphītavaras doubtfully. V. de St. Martin (Mémoire, etc.., p. 300) suggests śvetavāras. As this seems to be more in agreement with the Japanese equivalents in my text, I have adopted it. The situation or name of this city is unknown. General Cunningham suggests Saptavarsha or Sattavasa, and connects with this name, "the Thatagush of the inscriptions of Darius, who are the Sattagudai of Herodotus" (Anc. Geog., p. 26). If we suppose the Chehel Dukhtarān peak to be the same as the mountain called O-lu-no (About to be noticed), then measuring north about six miles, we should come to Begrām; from this, eight miles north—according to our text—would take us up the Panjshir river, and not to the capital. There is no bearing given in the French translation, and it is possible that the symbol for south in our text has been interpolated. From Hiuen Tsiang's remark "that the city of śvetavāras could not be destroyed," we may perhaps identify it with the Tetragonis of Pliny, Hist. Nat., lib. vi. c. 25.


'O-lu-no may be restored to Aruṇa, "the red." The symbol na, however, is especially referred to in a note as being equal in sound to n(oo)+(k)o, i.e., no.


The symbols Tsu-na-hi-lo would give śunahir. The Japanese phonetic equivalent for hi is given as ki or gi, which (if correct) gives us Sunagir. Julien suggests Kshuṇahila.


The kingdom of Tsaukūṭa appears, from the return journey, to be the same as Sewistān. The high mountain of Tukatu may perhaps represent the Tsu-na-hi-lo of the text. Lassen, Ind. Alt., vol. iii. p. 884.


That is, startled to find from the fragrance that this food was different from that which he had received.


That is (as it seems), for the sake of the Nāga who was dead.


Among the lower creatures belonging to an evil class; referring to the evil ways or modes of birth (jāti). The three evil ways are birth as a beast, as a preta, or a demon.


Or, "it is no human power which restrains him."


Or, "an acknowledged-afar renown;" or it may be, as in Julien's translation, " the renown of one who conquers the distant;" this, however, appears strained.


A great smoke-brightness. The flames on the shoulders are observable on some of the Kanerki coins. We may compare with these flames the two ravens that sit on the shoulders of Odin, and also "the echo of heathen thought" which makes the dove sit on Christ's shoulder at his baptism (Grimm's Teutonic Mythology, by Stallybrass, vol. i. p. 148).


The words rendered "relic," etc.., are in the original "bone and flesh śarīras;" that is, " bone and flesh remains," or body-relics.


The symbol for "gem" is of uncertain meaning. There is a precious gem from the Lu country called yu-fan. It is the latter of these two words that occurs in the text, connected with chu, a pearl. I have therefore translated chu-fan by pearl-gem.


This account probably refers to some electrical phenomenon. The surmounting pole of the stūpa was provided with metal rings or discs, and was capped generally with a metal "pitcher" (so called). This would naturally act as a lightening conductor.


This great river may be the affluent of the Kābul river flowing through the Ghōrband valley. It flows about east and west leaving the valley; the southern bank, therefore, would be that nearest the site of the capital.


That is, a hair from the topknot hair.


I. e., the circular dish at the top of the surmounting pole.




The wood commonly used in India is that of the Khadira tree, the Acacia Catechu. After being used as a tooth-cleaner it is generally split in two, and one part used to scrape the tongue. Hence probably the name Pi-to-kiu given in the text, which seems to be a form of the Sanskrit vidala, leafless; or, as Julien suggests, of Vaitraka a reed, a twig.


That is, the Siāh Kōh, or the range which separates Lamghān from the upper valley of the Kāo and that of the Pīcha.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: