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 6 - Country of Pi-so-kia (Vaishaka)

Note: Vaishaka (Pi-so-kia) is supposed by Cunningham to be the same as Sāketa, the Sa-chi of Fa-hien, which is the same as Ayodhyā or Oude.

This kingdom{GL_NOTE::} is about 4000 li in circuit, and the capital about 16 li round. The country produces abundance of cereals, and is rich in flowers and fruits. The climate is soft and agreeable. The people are pure and honest. They are very diligent in study, and seek to gain merit (by doing good) without relaxation. There are 20 saṅghārāmas and about 3000 priests, who study the Little Vehicle according to the Sammatīya school. There are about fifty Deva temples and very many heretics.

To the south of the city, on the left of the road, is a large saṅghārāma; this is where the Arhat Devaśarma wrote the Shih-shin-lun (Vijñānakāya śāstra), in which he defends the position that there is no "I" as an individual.[1] The Arhat Gopa (Kiu-po) composed also in this place the Shing-kiau-iu-shih-lun, in which he defends the position that there is an "I" as an individual. These doctrines excited much controversial discussion. Again, in this place Dharmapāla Bodhisattva during seven days defeated a hundred doctors belonging to the Little Vehicle.

By the side of the saṅghārāma is a stūpa about 200 feet high, which was built by Aśoka-rāja. Here Tathāgata in old days preached during six years, and occupied himself whilst so doing in guiding and converting men. By the side of this stūpa is a wonderful tree which is 6 or 7 feet high. Through many years it has remained just the same, without increase or decrease. Formerly when Tathāgata had cleansed his teeth, he threw away in this place the small piece of twig he had used. It took root, and produced the exuberant foliage which remains to the present time.[2] The heretics and Brāhmaṇs have frequently come together and cut it down, but it grows again as before.

Not far from this spot are traces where the four past Buddhas sat and walked. There is also a nail and hair stūpa. Sacred buildings here follow one another in succession; the woods, and lakes reflecting their shadows, are seen everywhere.

Going from this north-east 500 li or so, we come to the kingdom of Shi-sah-lo-fu-sih-tai (śrāvastī).

Footnotes and references:


For many arguments on this question of "no personal self," see the Life of Buddha (Buddhacharita) by Aśvaghosha, passim; also Wong Pūh, §190.


This tree is also noticed by Fa-hian in his account of Sa-chi, and it is this which has led General Cunningham to identify Viśākhā with Sāketa or Ayodhyā.

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