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 21 - Country of Cho-kiu-kia (Chakuka? or Yarkiang)

Note: V. de St. Martin identifies Cho-kiu-kia with Yarkiang, but he gives no authority. Dr. Eitel (Handbook, s. v. Tchakuka) states that "it is an ancient kingdom in Little Bukharia, probably the modern Yarkiang." The distance and bearing from Kashgar would point to Yarkand.

This kingdom is some 1000 li or so round; the capital is about 10 li in circuit. It is hemmed in by crags and mountain fastnesses. The residences are numerous. Mountains and hills succeed each other in a continuous line. Stony districts[1] spread in every direction. This kingdom borders on two rivers;[2] the cultivation of grain and of fruit-trees is successful, principally figs, pears, and plums. Cold and winds prevail throughout the year. The men are passionate and cruel; they are false and treacherous, and in open day practise robbery. The letters are the same as those of K'iu-sa-tan-na (Khotan), but the spoken language is different. Their politeness is very scant, and their knowledge of literature and the arts equally so. They have an honest faith, however, in the three precious objects of worship, and love the practice of religion. There are several tens of saṅghārāmas, but mostly in a ruinous condition; there are some hundred followers, who study the Great Vehicle.

On the southern frontier of the country is a great mountain, with lofty defiles and peaks piled up one on the other, and covered with matted underwood and jungle. In winter and all through the year the mountain streams and torrents rush down on every side. There are niches and stone chambers in the outside; they occur in regular order between the rocks and woods. The Arhats from India, displaying their spiritual power, coming from far, abide here at rest. As many Arhats have here arrived at nirvāṇa, so there are many stūpas here erected. At present there are three Arhats dwelling in these mountain passes in deep recesses, who have entered the samādhi of "extinction of mind." Their bodies are withered away; their hair continues to grow, so that Shamans from time to time go to shave them. In this kingdom, the writings of the Great Vehicle are very abundant. There is no place where the law of Buddha is more flourishing than this. There is a collection here[3] of ten myriads of verses, divided into ten parts. From the time of its introduction till now it has wonderfully spread.

Going east from this, skirting along the high mountain passes and traversing valleys, after going about 800 li, we come to the kingdom of K'iu-sa-ta-na (Kustana-Khotan).

Footnotes and references:

1.

Compare W. H. Bellew's account of this neighbourhood. Kashmir and Kashgir, p. 365.

2.

Probably the Yarkand and Khotan rivers.

3.

Series of sacred books.

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