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 8 - Country of Fa-li-pi (Valabhi)

This country is 6000 li or so in circuit, the capital about 30. The character of the soil, the climate, and manners of the people are like those of the kingdom of Mālava. The population is very dense; the establishments rich. There are some hundred houses (families) or so, who possess a hundred lākhs. The rare and valuable products of distant regions are here stored in great quantities. There are some hundred saṅghārāmas, with about 6000 priests. Most of them study the Little Vehicle.[1] according to the Sammatīya school. There are several hundred Deva temples with very many sectaries of different sorts.

When Tathāgata lived in the world, he often travelled through this country. Hence Aśoka-rāja raised monuments or built stūpas in all those places where Buddha rested. Scattered among these are spots where the three past Buddhas sat down, or walked, or preached the law. The present king is of the Kṣattriya caste, as they all are. He is the nephew of śilāditya-rāja of Mālava, and son-in-law of the son of śilāditya, the present king of Kanyākubja. His name is Dhruvapaṭa (T'u-lu-p'o-po-tu).[2] He is of a lively and hasty disposition, his wisdom and statecraft are shallow. Quite recently he has attached himself sincerely to faith in the three "precious ones." Yearly he summons a great assembly, and for seven days gives away most valuable gems, exquisite meats, and on the priests he bestows in charity the three garments and medicaments, or their equivalent in value, and precious articles made of rare and costly gems of the seven sorts. Having given these in charity, he redeems them at twice their price. He esteems virtue (or the virtuous) and honours the good; he reverences those who are noted for their wisdom.[3] The great priests who come from distant regions he particularly honours and respects.

Not far from the city is a great saṅghārāma which was built by the Arhat āchāra ('O-che-lo);[4] here the Bodhisattvas Guṇamati and Sthiramati[5] (Kien-hwui) fixed their residences during their travels and composed treatises which have gained a high renown.

From this going north-west 700 li or so, we come to 'O-nan-to-pu-lo (ānandapura).

Footnotes and references:


In a copper-plate deed of Guhasena of Valabhī, he says, "In order to obtain for my parents and for myself benefits in this life and the next, I have granted, by libation of water, to the community of the reverend śākya Bhikshus belonging to the eighteen schools (nikāyā) who have come from various directions to the great convent (Mahāvihāra) of Duḍḍā." Ind. Ant., vol. iv. p. 175. This Duḍḍā was the daughter of Dhruvasena I's sister (Ib., p. 106), and so a grand-daughter of Bhaṭārka, the founder of the Valabhī dynasty. In another copper-plate of Guhusena, he makes a grant to "the foreign monks belonging to the eighteen schools, and living in the a Abhyantarikā vihāra built by the venernble Mimmā, and situated close to the monastery of Bhatārka, presented to the Rājasthānīya śura." Ind. Ant., vol. v. p. 206; conf. Vassilief, Le Bouddh., p. 63. Arch. Sur. W. Ind. Reports, vol. iii. p. 94. The "eighteen schools" here mentioned point to the Hīnayāna doctrine.


Dr. Buhler argues that this king was the same as śilāditya VI., surnamed Dhrūbhaṭa, (which he supposes to stand for Dhruvabhata, "the constant warrior"), of whom we have a grant dated "Sam. 447" (Ind. Ant., vol. vii. p. 80). General Cunningham adopts the same view (A. S. Reports, vol. ix. pp. 16, 18); but Burgess is disposed to regard this king as the Dhruvasena II. of a Valabhī grant dated "Sam. 310" (Arch. Sur. W. Ind., vol. ii. pp. 82, ff.); and Oldenberg, as possibly Dherabhata, the cousin of Dhruvasena II. (Ind. Ant., vol. x. p. 219).


Or, he reverences religion and makes much of wisdom.


This is confirmed by a grant of Dharasena II. of Valabhī, in which the Sanskrit name of the founder is given as Atharya (Ind. Ant., vol. iv. p.164 n.; vol. vi. p. 9). Julien has āchāra; the Chinese translation "so-hing" requires this restoration.


Sthiramati Sthavira was one of the famous disciples of Vasubandhu, the twenty-first patriarch, who wrote commentaries on all the works of his master. He is named in a grant of Dharasena I. as the āchāryya Bhadanta Sthiramati, who founded the vihāra of śrī Bappapāda at Valabhī (Ind. Ant., vol. vi. p. 9; Vassilief, p. 78; M Muller's India, p. 305; B. Nanjio's Cat. Budd. Trip., c. 372). Guṇamati was also a disciple of Vasubandhu. He had a famous disciple, Vasumitra (Pho-shu-mi), who wrote a commentary on Vasubandhu's Abhidharmakosha (Bunyiu Nanjio's Cat. Bud. Trip., cc. 375, 377; M. Muller, India, pp. 305, 309, 310, 632; Burnouf, Introd., p. 505; Vassilief, p. 78).

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