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 1 - Country of P’o-lo-ni-sse (Varanasi)

This country is about 4000 li in circuit. The capital borders (on its western side) the Ganges river. It is about 18 or 19 li in length and 5 or 6 li in breadth; its inner gates are like a small-toothed comb;[1] it is densely populated. The families are very rich, and in the dwellings are objects of rare value. The disposition of the people is soft and humane, and they are earnestly given to study. They are mostly unbelievers, a few reverence the law of Buddha. The climate is soft, the crops abundant, the trees (fruit trees) flourishing, and the underwood thick in every place. There are about thirty saṅghārāmas and 3000 priests. They study the Little Vehicle according to the Sammatīya school (Ching-liang-pu). There are a hundred or so Deva temples with about 10,000 sectaries. They honour principally Maheśvara (Ta-tseu-tsaï). Some cut their hair off, others tie their hair in a knot, and go naked, without clothes (Nirgranthas); they cover their bodies with ashes (Pāśupatas), and by the practice of all sorts of austerities they seek to escape from birth[2] and death.

In the capital there are twenty Deva temples, the towers and halls of which are of sculptured stone and carved wood. The foliage of trees combine to shade (the sites), whilst pure streams of water encircle them. The statue of the Deva Maheśvara, made of teou-shih (native copper), is somewhat less than 100 feet high. Its appearance is grave and majestic, and appears as though really living.

To the north-east of the capital, on the western side of the river Varaṇā, is a stūpa[3] built by Aśoka-rāja (Wu-yau). It is about 100 feet high; in front of it is a stone pillar, it is bright and shining as a mirror; its surface is glistening and smooth as ice, and on it can be constantly seen the figure of Buddha as a shadow.

To the north-east of the river Varaṇā about 10 li or so, we come to the saṅghārāma of Lu-ye (stag desert).[4] Its precincts are divided into eight portions (sections),[5] connected by a surrounding wall. The storeyed towers with projecting eaves and the balconies are of very superior work. There are fifteen hundred priests in this convent who study the Little Vehicle according to the Sammatīya school. In the great enclosure is a vihāra about 200 feet high; above the roof is a golden-covered figure of the āmra (An-mo-lo—mango) fruit. The foundations of the building are of stone, and the stairs also, but the towers and niches are of brick. The niches are arranged on the four sides in a hundred successive lines, and in each niche is a golden figure of Buddha. In the middle of the vihāra is a figure of Buddha made of teou-shih (native copper). It is the size of life, and he is represented as turning the wheel of the law (preaching).[6]

To the south-west of the vihāra is a stone stūpa built by Aśoka-rāja. Although the foundations have given way, there are still 100 feet or more of the wall remaining. In front of the building is a stone pillar about 70 feet high. The stone is altogether as bright as jade. It is glistening, and sparkles like light; and all those who pray fervently before it see from time to time, according to their petitions, figures with good or bad signs. It was here that Tathāgata (ju-lai), having arrived at enlightenment, began to turn the wheel of the law (to preach).

By the side of this building and not far from it is a stūpa. This is the spot where ājñāta Kauṇḍinya ('O-jo-kio-ch'in-ju) and the rest, seeing Bodhisattva giving up his austerities, no longer kept his company, but coming to this place, gave themselves up to meditation.[7]

By the side of this is a stūpa where five hundred Pratyeka Buddhas entered at the same time into Nirvāṇa. There are, moreover, three stūpas where there are traces of the sitting and walking of the three former Buddhas.

By the side of this last place is a stūpa. This is the spot where Maitreya Bodhisattva received assurance of his becoming a Buddha. In old days, when Tathāgata was living in Rājagṛha (Wang-she), on the Gṛdhrakūṭa mountain,[8] he spoke thus to the Bhikṣus: "In future years, when this country of Jambudvīpa shall be at peace and rest, and the age of men shall amount to 80,000 years, there shall be a Brāhmaṇ called Maitreya (Sse-che). His body shall be of the colour of pure gold, bright and glistening and pure. Leaving his home, he will become a perfect Buddha, and preach the threefold[9] law for the benefit of all creatures. Those who shall be saved are those who live, in whom the roots of merit have been planted through my bequeathed law.[10] These all conceiving in their minds a profound respect for the three precious objects of worship, whether they be already professed disciples or not, whether they be obedient to the precepts or not, will all be led by the converting power (of his preaching) to acquire the fruit (of Bodhi)and final deliverance. Whilst declaring the threefold law for the conversion of those who have been influenced by my bequeathed law, by this means also hereafter others will be converted."[11]

At this time Maitreya Bodhisattva (Meï-ta-li-ye-pu-sa) hearing this declaration of Buddha, rose from his seat and addressed Buddha thus: "May I indeed become that lord called Maitreya." Then Tathāgata spoke thus: "Be it so! you shall obtain this fruit (condition), and as I have just explained, such shall be the power (influence) of your teaching."

To the west of this place there is a stūpa. This is the spot where śākya Bodhisattva (Shih-kia-p'u-sa) received an assurance (of becoming a Buddha). In the midst of the Bhadra-kalpa when men's years amounted to 20,000, Kāśyapa Buddha (Kia-she-po-fo) appeared in the world and moved the wheel of the excellent law (i.e., preached the law), opened out and changed the unclosed mind (of men), and declared this prediction to Prabhāpāla Bodhisattva (Hu-ming-p'u-sa).[12] "This Bodhisattva in future ages, when the years of men shall have dwindled to 100 years, shall obtain the condition of a Buddha and be called śākya Muni."

Not far to the south of this spot are traces where the four Buddhas of a bygone age walked for exercise. The length (of the promenade) is about fifty paces and the height of the steps (stepping spots) about seven feet. It is composed of blue stones piled together. Above it is a figure of Tathāgata in the attitude of walking. It is of a singular dignity and beauty. From the flesh-knot on the top of the head there flows wonderfully a braid of hair. Spiritual signs are plainly manifested and divine prodigies wrought with power (fineness, éclat).

Within the precincts of the enclosure (of the saṅghārāma)[13] there are many sacred vestiges, with vihāras and stūpas several hundred in number. We have only named two or three of these, as it would be difficult to enter into details.

To the west of the saṅghārāma enclosure is a clear lake of water about 200 paces in circuit; here Tathāgata occasionally bathed himself. To the west of this is a great tank about 180 paces round; here Tathāgata used to wash his begging-dish.

To the north of this is a lake about 150 paces round. Here Tathāgata used to wash his robes. In each of these pools is a dragon who dwells within it. The water is deep and its taste sweet; it is pure and resplendent in appearance, and neither increases nor decreases. When men of a bad character bathe here, the crocodiles (kin-pi-lo,—kumbhīras) come forth and kill many of them; but in case of the reverential who wash here, they need fear nothing.

By the side of the pool where Tathāgata washed his garments is a great square stone, on which are yet to be seen the trace-marks of his kaṣāya (kia-sha) robe. The bright lines of the tissue are of a minute and distinct character, as if carved on the stone. The faithful and pure frequently come to make their offerings here; but when the heretics and men of evil mind speak lightly of or insult the stone, the dragon-king inhabiting the pool causes the winds to rise and rain to fall.

By the side of the lake, and not far off, is a stūpa. This is where Bodhisattva, during his preparatory life, was born as a king of elephants, provided with six tusks (chhadanta).[14] A hunter, desirous to obtain the tusks, put on a robe in colour like that of a religious ascetic, and taking his bow, awaited the arrival of his prey. The elephant king, from respect to the kaṣāya robe, immediately broke off his tusks and gave them to the hunter.

By the side of this spot, and not far from it, is a stūpa. It was here Bodhisattva, in his preparatory career, grieved to see that there was little politeness (reverence) amongst men, took the form of a bird, and joining himself to the company of a monkey and a white elephant, he asked them in this place, "Which of you saw first this Nyagrodha (Ni-ku-liu) tree?" Each having answered according to circumstances, he placed them according to their age.[15] The good effects of this conduct spread itself little by little on every side; men were able to distinguish the high from the low, and the religious and lay people followed their example.

Not far from this, in a great forest, is a stūpa. It was here that Devadatta and Bodhisattva, in years gone by, were kings of deer and settled a certain matter. Formerly in this place, in the midst of a great forest, there were two herds of deer, each 500 in number. At this time the king of the country wandered about hunting through the plains and morasses. Bodhisattva, king of deer, approaching him, said, "Mahārāja! you set fire to the spaces enclosed as your hunting-ground, and shoot your arrows and kill all my followers. Before the sun rises they lie about corrupting and unfit for food. Pray let us each day offer you one deer for food, which the king will then have fresh and good, and we shall prolong our life a little day by day." The king was pleased at the proposition, and turned his chariot and went back home. So on each day a deer from the respective flocks was killed.

Now among the herd of Devadatta there was a doe big with young, and when her turn came to die she said to her lord, "Although I am ready to die, yet it is not my child's turn."

The king of the deer (i.e., Devadatta) was angry, and said, " Who is there but values life?"

The deer answered with a sigh, "But, O king, it is not humane to kill that which is unborn."[16]

She then told her extremity to Bodhisattva, the king of deer. He replied, "Sad indeed; the heart of the loving mother grieves (is moved) for that which is not yet alive (has no body). I today will take your place and die."

Going to the royal gate (i.e., the palace), the people who travelled along the road passed the news along and said in a loud voice, "That great king of the deer is going now towards the town." The people of the capital, the magistrates, and others, hastened to see.

The king hearing of it, was unwilling to believe the news; but when the gate-keeper assured him of the truth, then the king believed it. Then, addressing the deer-king he said, "Why have you come here?"

The deer-(king) replied, "There is a female in the herd big with young, whose turn it was to die; but my heart could not bear to think that the young, not yet born, should perish so. I have therefore come in her place."

The king, hearing it, sighed and said, "I have indeed the body of a man, but am as a deer. You have the body of a deer, but are as a man." Then for pity's sake he released the deer, and no longer required a daily sacrifice. Then he gave up that forest for the use of the deer, and so it was called "the forest given to the deer,"[17] and hence its name, the "deer-plain" (or, wild).

Leaving this place, and going 2 or 3 li to the south-west of the saṅghārāma, there is a stūpa about 300 feet high. The foundations are broad and the building high, and adorned with all sorts of carved work and with precious substances. There are no successive stages (to this building) with niches; and although there is a standing pole erected above the cupola (fau poh[18]), yet it has no encircling bells.[19] By the side of it is a little stūpa. This the spot where ājñāta Kaundinya and the other men, five in number, declined to rise to salute Buddha.[20] When first Sarvārthasiddha (Sa-p'o-ho-la-t'a-si-t'o[21]) left the city to sojourn in the mountains and to hide in the valleys, forgetful of self and mindful of religion, then śuddhodana-rāja (Tsing-fan) commanded three persons of his own tribe and household, and two of his maternal uncles, saying, "My son Sarvārthasiddha has left his home to practise wisdom; alone he wanders through mountains and plains and lives apart in the forests. I order you, therefore, to follow him and find out where he dwells. You within (the family), his uncles, and you without (the family), ministers and people, exert yourselves diligently to find out where he has gone to live." The five men, after receiving the order, went together, casting along the outposts of the country. And now, during their earnest search, the thought of leaving their homes occurred to them also,[22] and so they thus spake one to the other: "Is it by painful discipline or by joyful means we attain to supreme wisdom?" Two of them said, "By rest and by pleasant discipline wisdom is obtained." Three of them said, "It is by painful discipline." Whilst they yet contended without agreeing, two to three, the prince had already entered on the painful discipline of the unbelievers, considering this to be the true way to overcome sorrow; and so, like them, he took only a few grains of rice and millet to support his body.

The two men seeing him thus, said, "This discipline of the prince is opposed to the true way (of escape); intelligence is obtained by agreeable methods, but now he is practising severe discipline, he cannot be our companion." So they departed far off and lived in seclusion under the idea that they would (in their own way) attain the fruit (of enlightenment). The prince having practised austerities for six years[23] without obtaining Bodhi, desired to give up his rigorous discipline, as being contrary to the truth; he then prepared himself to receive the rice-milk (offered by the girl), with a view, by this method, to obtain enlightenment.[24] Then the three men (who advocated penance) hearing thereof, sighed and said, "His merit was just ripening, and now it is all dissipated! For six years enduring penance, and now in a day to lose all his merit!" On this they went together to seek for and consult with the two men. Having met them, they sat down and entered on an excited conversation. Then they spake together thus: "In old days we saw the Prince Sarvārthasiddha leave the royal palace for the desert valleys: he put off his jewels and robes, and assumed the skin doublet (of the hunter), and then, with all his might and determined will, gave himself to austerities to seek after the deep mysterious law and its perfect fruit. And now, having given all up, he has received the rice-milk of the young shepherd-girl, and ruined his purpose. We know now he can do nothing."

The two men replied, "How is it, my masters, ye have seen this so late, that this man acts as a madman? When he lived in his palace he was reverenced and powerful; but he was not able to rest in quiet, and so went wandering far off through mountains and woods, giving up the estate of a Chakravartin monarch to lead the life of an abject and outcast. What need we think about him more; the mention of his name but adds sorrow to sorrow."

And now Bodhisattva having bathed in the Nairañjanā river, seated himself under the Bodhi tree and perfected himself in supreme wisdom, and was named "The lord of devas and men." Then reflecting in silence, he thought who was worthy (fit) to be instructed in the way of deliverance—"The son of Rāma, Udra by name (Yo-t'eu-lan), he is fit to receive the excellent law, as he has reached the Samādhi, which admits of no active thought."[25]

Then the Devas in space raised their voices and said, "Udra-Rāmaputra has been dead for seven days." Then Tathāgata sighing (said) with regret, "Why did we not meet? ready as he was to hear the excellent law and thereby to obtain quick conversion!"

Again he gave himself to consideration, and cast about through the world to seek (for some one to whom he might first preach). There is (he thought) ārāḍa Kālama ('O-lan-kia-lan), who has reached the ecstatic point "of having nothing to obtain;"[26] he is fit to receive the highest reason. Then again the Devas said, "He has been dead for five[27] days."

Again Tathāgata sighed, in knowledge of his incompleted merit. Once more considering who was worthy to receive his instruction, he remembered that in the "deer park" there were the five men,[28] who might first receive the converting doctrine. Then Tathāgata, rising from the Bodhi tree, went forward with measured step[29] and dignified mien to the "deer-park garden," shining with glory; his (circle of) hair[30] reflecting its brilliant colours, and his body like gold. Gracefully he advanced to teach those five men. They, on their parts, seeing him afar off, said one to another,[31] "Here comes that Sarvārthasiddha; for years and months he has sought for the sacred fruit, and has not obtained it, and now his mind is relaxed, and so he comes to seek us as disciples (or, to seek our company); let us remain silent, and not rise to meet him or pay him respect."

Tathāgata gradually approaching, his sacred appearance affecting all creatures, the five men, forgetting their vow, rose and saluted him, and then attached themselves to him with respect. Tathāgata gradually instructed them in the excellent principles (of his religion), and when the double[32] season of rest was finished, they had obtained the fruit (of Bodhi).

To the east of the "deer forest" 2 or 3 li, we come to a stūpa by the side of which is a dry pool about 80 paces in circuit, one name of which is "saving life,"[33] another name is "ardent master." The old traditions explain it thus: Many hundred years ago there was a solitary sage (a sorrowful or obscure master) who built by the side of this pool a hut to live in, away from the world. He practised the arts of magic, and by the extremest exercise of his spiritual power he could change broken fragments of bricks into precious stones, and could also metamorphose both men and animals into other shapes, but he was not yet able to ride upon the winds and the clouds, and to follow the rishis in mounting upwards. By inspecting figures and names that had come down from of old, he further sought into the secret arts of the rishis. From these he learned the following: "The spirit-rishis are they who possess the art of lengthening life.[34] If you wish to acquire this knowledge, first of all you must fix your mind on this—viz., to build up an altar enclosure 10 feet round; then command an 'ardent master' (a hero), faithful and brave, and with clear intent, to hold in his hand a long sword and take his seat at the corner of the altar, to cover his breath, and remain silent from evening till dawn.[35] He who seeks to be a rishi must sit in the middle of the altar, and, grasping a long knife, must repeat the magic formulæ and keep watch (seeing and hearing). At morning light, attaining the condition of a rishi, the sharp knife he holds will change into a sword of diamond (a gem-sword), and he will mount into the air and march through space, and rule over the band of rishis. Waving the sword he holds, everything he wishes will be accomplished, and he will know neither decay nor old age, nor disease nor death."[36] The man having thus obtained the method (of becoming a rishi), went in search of such an "ardent master." Diligently he searched for many years, but as yet he found not the object of his desires. At length, in a certain town he encountered a man piteously wailing as he went along the way. The solitary master seeing his marks (the marks on his person),[37] was rejoiced at heart, and forthwith approaching him, he inquired, "Why do you go thus lamenting, and why are you so distressed?" He said, "I was a poor and needy man, and had to labour hard to support myself. A certain master seeing this, and knowing me to be entirely trustworthy, used me (engaged me for his work) during five years, promising to pay me well for my pains. On this I patiently wrought in spite of weariness and difficulties. Just as the five years were done, one morning for some little fault I was cruelly whipped and driven away without a farthing. For this cause I am sad at heart and afflicted. Oh, who will pity me?"

The solitary master ordered him to accompany him, and coming to his cabin (wood hut), by his magic power he caused to appear some choice food, and ordered him to enter the pool and wash. Then he clothed him in new garments, and giving him 500 gold pieces, he dismissed him, saying, "When this is done, come and ask for more without fear."[38] After this he frequently bestowed on him more gifts, and in secret did him other good, so that his heart was filled with gratitude. Then the "ardent master" was ready to lay down his life in return for all the kindness he had received. Knowing this, the other said to him, "I am in need of an enthusiastic person.[39] During a succession of years I sought for one, till I was fortunate enough to meet with you, possessed of rare beauty and a becoming presence, different from others.[40] Now, therefore, I pray you, during one night (to watch) without speaking a word."

The champion said, "I am ready to die for you, much more to sit with my breath covered."[41] Whereupon he constructed an altar and undertook the rules for becoming a rishi, according to the prescribed form. Sitting down, he awaited the night. At the approach of night each attended to his particular duties. The "solitary master" recited his magic prayers; the champion held his sharp sword in his hand. About dawn suddenly he uttered a short cry, and at the same time fire descended from heaven, and flames and smoke arose on every side like clouds. The "solitary master" at once drew the champion into the lake,[42] and having saved him from his danger, he said, "I bound you to silence; why then did you cry out?"

The champion said, "After receiving your orders, towards the middle of the night, darkly, as in a dream, the scene changed, and I saw rise before me all my past history. My master[43] in his own person came to me, and in consolatory words addressed me; overcome with gratitude, I yet restrained myself and spoke not. Then that other man came before me; towering with rage, he slew me, and I received my ghostly body[44] (I wandered as a shade or shadowy body). I beheld myself dead, and I sighed with pain, but yet I vowed through endless ages not to speak, in gratitude to you. Next I saw myself destined to be born in a great Brāhman's house in Southern India, and I felt my time come to be conceived and to be brought forth. Though all along enduring anguish, yet from gratitude to you no sound escaped me. After a while I entered on my studies, took the cap (of manhood), and I married; my parents dead, I had a child. Each day I thought of all your kindness, and endured in silence, uttering no word. My household connections and clan relatives all seeing this, were filled with shame. For more than sixty years and five I lived. At length my wife addressed me, 'You must speak; if not, I slay your son! And then I thought, 'I can beget no other child, for I am old and feeble; this is my only tender son.' It was to stop my wife from killing him I raised the cry."

The "solitary master" said, "All was my fault; 'twas the fascination of the devil."[45] The champion, moved with gratitude, and sad because the thing had failed, fretted himself and died. Because he escaped the calamity of fire, the lake is called "Saving the Life," and because he died overpowered by gratitude, it has its other name, "The Champion's Lake."

To the west of this lake there is a stūpa of "the three animals." In this place, when Bodhisattva was practising his preparatory life, he burnt his own body. At the beginning of the kalpa in this forest wild, there lived a fox, a hare, and a monkey, three creatures of different kinds but mutually affectionate. At this time śakra, king of Devas, wishing to examine into the case of those practising the life of a Bodhisattva, descended spiritually in shape as an old man. He addressed the three animals thus: "My children, two or three,[46] are you at ease and without fear?" They said, "We lie upon (tread on) the rich herbage, wander through the bosky brakes, and though of different kinds we are agreed together, and are at rest and joyful." The old man said, "Hearing that you, my children, two or three, were peaceful at heart and living in sweet accord, though I am old, yet have I come from far alone, forgetting my infirmities, to visit you; but now I am pressed with hunger, what have you to offer me to eat?" They said, "Wait here awhile, and we will go ourselves in search of food." On this, with one mind and with single purpose, they searched through the different ways for food. The fox having skirted a river, drew out from thence a fresh carp fish. The monkey in the forest gathered fruits and flowers of different kinds. Then they came together to the appointed place and approached the old man. Only the hare came empty, after running to and fro both right and left. The old man spake to him and said, "As it seems to me, you are not of one mind with the fox and monkey; each of those can minister to me heartily, but the hare alone comes empty, and gives me nought to eat; the truth of what I say can easily be known." The hare, hearing these words and moved by their power, addressed the fox and monkey thus, "Heap up a great pile of wood for burning, then I will give (do) something." The fox and monkey did accordingly; running here and there, they gathered grass and wood; they piled it up, and when it was thoroughly alight the hare spake thus: "Good sir! I am a small and feeble thing; it is difficult for me to obtain you food, but my poor body may perhaps provide a meal." On this he cast himself upon the fire, and forthwith died. Then the old man reassumed his body as King śakra, collected all the bones, and after dolorous sighs addressed the fox and monkey thus: "He only could have done it (or, unprecedented event). I am deeply touched; and lest his memory should perish, I will place him in the moon's disc to dwell." Therefore through after ages all have said, "The hare is in the moon." After this event men built a stūpa on the spot.[47]

Leaving this country and going down the Ganges eastward 300 li or so, we come to the country of Chen-chu.

Footnotes and references:


Julien gives here, "the villages are very close together;" but, as noticed before (p. 73, n. 13), the Chinese symbols "leu yen" mean "the inner gates" of a city, and the expression "tsch pi" means "like a tooth comb." I conclude it means that the inner gates of the city consisted of closely joined, and perhaps sharpened, iron or other bars.


Not "life and death," but "birth and death;" i.e., to arrive at a condition of uninterrupted life.


Julien here gives P'o-lo-ni-sse by mistake, it should be P'o-lo-ni (read na), referring to the Varaṇā or Baraṇā (see Dr. Fitzedward Hall's remarks in the Introduction to Sherring's Sacred City of the Hindus; also Cunningham, Anc. Geog., p. 436 n.)


The same as Mṛgadāva, generally called Lu-yuen, "the deer garden." This is the spot where Buddha preached his first sermon to the five mendicants. For an account of his march to Bānāras and the sermon he preached see Fo-sho-hing-tsan-king, varga 15, p. 168.


Probably meaning that the enclosure was an octagon, as the great tower of Dhamek was (Arch. Survey, vol. i. p. 111).


The wheel is the symbol of "preaching," or of dharma. The scene of Buddha's teaching near Bānāras is the district called Sārnāth, which, according to Cunningham, is a contraction of Sāraṅganātha, lord of deer. Buddha himself was once the "king of deer," and this may be the origin of the name. For an account of the excavations made on this spot see Arch. Survey, vol. i. p. 107 ff.


The five ascetics who had accompanied the Bodhisattva to Uravilva, and fasted with him for six years, when they saw him receive the rice milk of Nandā, supposing he had given up the object of his religious life, left him, and came to the deer park at Bānāras.


The "Peak of the Vulture," near Rājagṛha.


Julien translates this by "three great assemblies." It is true "hwuy" means "an assembly," but in this passage "san hwuy" refers to the law "thrice repeated." Hence it is said to be "a triple twelve-part trustworthy knowledge of the four truths" (Oldenberg, Buddha, p. 129 and note. Compare also the phrase tikutiko chakamo in the Bharhut sculptures, pl. xxviii., the meaning of which has escaped General Cunningham. Mr. B. Nanjio, also, in his Catalogue of the Buddhist Tripiṭaka, pp. 9, 10, has not noticed that the Chinese symbol hwui corresponds with the Sanskrit kūta, and so has translated the phrase as though it referred to "an assembly."


That is, those who shall be saved by the preaching of Maitreya are those in whose hearts my bequeathed law shall have worked the necessary preparation.


The same influence, i.e., of Maitreya's teaching, will act as a "good friend" for their subsequent conversion. The expression "shen yau," "illustrious friend," refers to the guidance of Bodhi, or wisdom. There is some difficulty in understanding how this assurance could have been given to Maitreya whilst Buddha was on the Gṛdhrakūṭa mountain, and yet that the spot should be at Bānāras, unless, indeed, it was repeated there.


Julien translates "and received from Prabhāpāla Bodhisattva the prediction following." But this would destroy the connection of the sentence; it is Kāśyapa Buddha who declares to Prabhāpāla that he (Prabhāpāla) shall become a Buddha. See Wong Pūh (J. R. As. S., vol. xx. p. 139),§§§ 4, 5.


Or of the "deer park," the modern Sārnāth.


Chhadanta, which seems to mean six-tusked, according to Siamese legend, is the name of an elephant living in a golden palace on the shores of the Himalayan lake Chatthan, attended by eighty thousand ordinary elephants.—Alabaster, Wheel of the Law, p. 305; conf. Sp. Hardy, Eastern Monachism, p. 178; Manual of Buddhism, p. 17; Mahawanso (Turnour's trans.), pp. 22, 134; Upham, Sac. and Hist. Books, vol. iii. p. 269; Burgess, Reports, Arch. Sur. W. Ind., vol. iv. pp. 45, 46; Cunningham, Bharhut Stūpa, pp. 62, 63; Beal, Rom. Leg. Bud., p. 367.


Here I follow Julien's translation, but there is probably an error in the text.


This may be translated otherwise: "Our king is not humane in putting to death without reprieve;" or, "Our king is not humane; I die without reprieve."


Commonly called the Mṛgdāva. This is the site referred to before,—the present Sārnāth or Sāraṅganātha.


Julien translates this "a sort of vase belonging to a religious person, inverted;" but I take "fau poh" to mean the cupola of a stūpa, in agreement with the account given above, p. 47 and n. 163.


"Lun-to", circular bells, or encircling bells, referring to the circular plates with bells generally attached to the surmounting pole of a stūpa. Julien translates, "it is not crowned with a cupola in form like a bell." This seems to be impossible, as it is before stated that the stūpa was surmounted by a pole.


For an account of this incident see the Fo-sho-hing-tsan-king, p. 172, vv. 1222, 1223. For the origin of Ajñāta Kauṇḍinya's ('O-jo-kiao-ch'in-ju) name see op. cit. v. 1268.


This was the name given to Bodhisattva by his parents. It is explained to mean "one by whom all objects are effected" (Monier Williams, Sans. Dict., sub voc. Sarva). In Chinese it is translated into "Yih-tsai-i-ch'ing," which seems to signify "one who is perfected in all ways," or "the completely perfect."


Such appears to be the force of the passage, as though the five men by their long search for the prince had become accustomed to a solitary life, and so were unwilling to return home.


The period of mortification is lengthened to seven years in the Southern accounts, or rather that Māra pursued the Bodhisattva for seven years up to the last vain attack he made upon him. See Oldenberg, Buddha, p. 420, Eng. trans. It is probable that the seven years' torture said to have been undergone by St. George, and the legend generally, is borrowed from the story of Bohisattva.


Julien has translated this passage as if it were spoken by "the two men" who were opposed to severe mortification as a method of religious discipline. But this necessitates the prediction that he would receive enlightenment after receiving the rice-milk, "Mais quand il aura reçu une bouillie de riz au lait, il obtiendra l'intelligence" (p. 365). This is highly improbable, and I have therefore translated it as in the text.


Naivasaṅjñā samādhi (Jul.) The theory of Udra-Rāmaputra (You-tau-lan-tseu) with respect to final deliverance is explained in the twelfth varga of the Fo-sho-hing-tsan-king. His system appears to have been a refinement on that of Kapila.




In the Lalita Vistara the number of days is three. In the Buddha-charita there is no period named.


That is, the Mṛgadāva (Sārnāth), at Bānāras.


"Step by step, like the king of beasts (the lion), did he advance watchfully through the grove of wisdom."—Fo-sho-hing-tsan-king, v. 1199.


That is, the circle of hair between his eyes (the urṇa).


According to the Buddhacharita, vv. 1220, 1221, the five men were named Kauṇḍinya, Daśabāla-Kāśyapa, Vāśpa, Aśvajit, Bhadrika. The Lalita Vistara gives Mahānāmā instead of Daśabāla. For the incident named in the text see Buddhacharita, loc. cit.


That is, the season of rain, during which the disciples retired into fixed homes. But this ordinance was not yet introduced into the Buddhist system; it seems to have been a custom, however, among religious communities before Buddha's time, for in the Vinaya complaint is made to Buddha that his disciples continued to wander through the country when the seeds were first growing, contrary to the ordinary rule.


There is no expression for "pool," as in the French translation.


The magic art of lengthening life, or of a long life. The "elixir of life" and the art of transmuting metals had been sought after in the East long before the Arabs introduced the study of alchemy into Europe. The philosopher's stone is the "tan sha" of the Chinese, i.e., the red bisulphuret of mercury, or cinnabar. See an article on Tauism in the Trans. of the China Branch of the R. A. S., part v. 1855, by Dr. Edkins, p. 86.


We may compare with this the ceremonies observed anciently on conferring the dignity of knighthood, especially the vigil before the altar. (Ingulphus, quoted by Mr. Thoms in his Book of the Court, p. 138.)


The account of this magic gem-sword may be compared with the "great brand, Excalibur," of King Arthur—"But'ere he dipt the surface, rose an arm/Clothed in white samite, mystic, wonderful,/And caught him by the hilt, and brandished him/Three times...."—Tennyson


"Siang", the marks indicating his noble character.


"Wu-wai" may also mean "seek it not elsewhere." Julien translates it "do not despise me."


"A brave champion"—Julien.


So I translate the passage, but it may be "your beauty (or figure) corresponds to the ideal portrait I had formed of it." So Julien translates; but "fi yau ta" would more naturally be rendered "unlike that of any other."


From this it seems that the portion relating to "holding the breath" is omitted in the previous sentence.


That is, to escape the fire.


That is, "my lord or master, whom I now serve"—the solitary master or rishi. It cannot be my old master, the one who treated him so cruelly (as Julien construes it), for he comes on the scene in the next sentence. The symbol "sih sse" are not to be taken with "chu", as though it were "my old master;" but with "kin", as I have translated it, "there arose before me the former events of my life."


This ghostly body or shade (chung yin shan) corresponds with theeidôlon of the Greeks—Psuchê kai eidôlon, atar / Phrenes ouk eni pampan.—Iliad, xxiii. 104.


Of Māra: it is plain that this weird story, taken in connection it with the dream, the inability to move or speak, and the actual reference of it all to Māra, is but an account of "the enthusiastic hero's" suffering from "nightmare."


There appears to be an error in the text, as though san (three) had been repeated, but the middle stroke of the first symbol erased. But as the same symbols are used in the next sentence, the meaning may be simply, "My children."


The preceding story is known as The Hare Jātaka. It is given in Rhys Davids' Buddhism; it is found also in the Chinese Jātaka-book; see also Fausbö, Five Jātakas, p. 58.

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