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 22 - Country of ’O-fan-ch’a (Avanda)

This kingdom is 2400 or 2500 li in circuit; the capital is about 20 li. There is no chief ruler, but the country is subject to Sin-tu. The soil is fit for the cultivation of grain, and abounds in beans and wheat; it produces but few flowers or fruits; the woods are thin. The climate is windy and cold; the disposition of the men is fierce and impulsive. Their language is simple and uncultivated. They do not value learning, but they are earnest and sincere believers in "the three gems." There are about twenty saṅghārāmas, with some 2000 priests; they mostly study the Little Vehicle according to the Sammatīya school. There are some five Deva temples, frequented by the heretics called Pāśupatas.

To the north-east of the city, not a great distance, in the middle of a great bamboo forest is a saṅghārāma mostly in ruins. Here Tathāgata gave permission to the Bhikṣus to wear Kih-fu-to (boots).[1] By the side of it is a stūpa built by Aśoka-rāja. Although the foundations have sunk into the earth, yet the remains are some hundred feet high. In a vihāra by the side of the stūpa is a blue-stone standing figure of Buddha. On sacred days (fast-days) it spreads abroad a divine light.

To the south 800 paces or so, in a forest, is a stūpa which was built by Aśoka-rāja. Tathāgata, in time gone by, stopping here, finding it cold in the night, covered himself with his three garments: on the morning following he permitted the Bhikṣus to wear wadded garments. In this wood is a place where Buddha walked for exercise. There are also a number of stūpas placed opposite one another, where the four Buddhas of the past age sat. In this stūpa are relics of Buddha's hair and nails. On holy days they emit a miraculous light.

Going from this north-east 900 li or so, we come to the country of Fa-la-na.

Footnotes and references:


There are some remarks made about permission to wear boots or shoes with thick linings in the Mahāvagga, varga 13, § 6 (S. B. E., vol. xvii. p. 35). It would seem from these records that this country of Avaṇḍa corresponded with Avanti.

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