The travels of Fa-Hian (400 A.D.)

by Samuel Beal | 1884 | 20,385 words | ISBN-10: 8120811070

This is the English translation of the travel records of Fa-Hian (or, Faxian): a Chinese Buddhist monk who traveled by foot from China to India between A.D. 399 and A.D. 412. The full title is: The travels of Fa-Hian: Buddhist-country-records; By Fa-hian, the Sakya of the Sung (Dynasty) [Date, 400 A.D]. This work is an extract of the book “Buddhi...

Chapter XXXV

Going 200 yojanas south from this, there is a country called Ta-Thsin (Dakshina). Here is a sangharama of the former Buddha Kasyapa. It is constructed out of a great mountain of rock, hollowed to the proper shape. This building has altogether five stages. The lowest is made with elephant figures, and has five hundred stone cells in it. The second is made with lion shapes, and has four hundred chambers. The third is made with horse shapes, and has three hundred chambers. The fourth is made with ox shapes, and has two hundred chambers. The fifth is made with dove shapes, and has one hundred chambers in it. At the very top of all is a spring of water, which, flowing in a stream before the rooms, encircles each tier, and so, running in a circuitous course, at last arrives at the very lowest stage of all, where, flowing past the chambers, it finally issues through the door. Throughout the consecutive tiers, in various parts of the building, windows have been pierced through the solid rock for the admission of light, so that every chamber is quite illuminated and there is no darkness. At the four corners of this edifice they have hewn out the rock into steps, as means for ascending. Men of the present time, being small of stature, ascend the ladder and thus reach the top in the usual way; hut men of old reached it with one foot. The reason why they name this building Po-lo-yuis from an Indian word signifying “pigeon.” There are always Arhats abiding here.

This land is barren and without inhabitants. At a considerable distance from the hill there are villages, but all of them are inhabited by heretics. They know nothing of the law of Buddha, or Sramanas, or Brahmanas, or of any of the different schools of learning. The men of that country continually see persons come flying to the temple. On a certain occasion there were some Buddhist pilgrims from different countries who came here to pay religious worship. Then the men of the villages above alluded to asked them, saying, “Why do you not fly? All the religious persons hereabouts that we see (able to) fly.” These men then answered by way of excuse, “Because our wings are not yet perfectly formed.” The country of Ta-Thsin (Dekhan) is precipitous and the roads dangerous. Those who wish to go there, even if they know the place, ought to give a present to the king of the country, either money or goods. The king then deputes certain men to accompany them as guides, and so they pass the travellers from one place to another, each party pointing out their own roads and intricate bypaths. Fa-Hian finding himself in the end unable to proceed to that country, reports in the above passages merely what he has heard.

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: