A Record of Buddhistic kingdoms: being an account by the Chinese monk Fa-hsien of travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in search of the Buddhist books of discipline eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 148 pages of information about A Record of Buddhistic kingdoms.
and means “Regarding or Looking on the sounds of the world,"="Hearer of Prayer.”  Originally, and still in Thibet, Avalokitesvara had only male attributes, but in China and Japan (Kwannon), this deity (such popularly she is) is represented as a woman, “Kwan-yin, the greatly gentle, with a thousand arms and a thousand eyes;” and has her principal seat in the island of P’oo-t’oo, on the China coast, which is a regular place of pilgrimage.  To the worshippers of whom Fa-hien speaks, Kwan-she-yin would only be Avalokitesvara.  How he was converted into the “goddess of mercy,” and her worship took the place which it now has in China, is a difficult inquiry, which would take much time and space, and not be brought after all, so far as I see, to a satisfactory conclusion.  See Eitel’s Handbook, pp. 18-20, and his Three Lectures on Buddhism (third edition), pp. 124-131.  I was talking on the subject once with an intelligent Chinese gentleman, when he remarked, “Have you not much the same thing in Europe in the worship of Mary?”

   (24) Compare what is said in chap. v.

   (25) This nirvana of Buddha must be—­not his death, but his attaining
   to Buddhaship.

CHAPTER XVII

SankasyaBuddha’s ascent to and descent from the Trayastrimsas heaven, and other legends.

From this they proceeded south-east for eighteen yojanas, and found themselves in a kingdom called Sankasya,(1) at the place where Buddha came down, after ascending to the Trayastrimsas heaven,(2) and there preaching for three months his Law for the benefit of his mother.(3) Buddha had gone up to this heaven by his supernatural power,(4) without letting his disciples know; but seven days before the completion (of the three months) he laid aside his invisibility,(4) and Anuruddha,(5) with his heavenly eyes,(5) saw the World-honoured one, and immediately said to the honoured one, the great Mugalan, “Do you go and salute the World-honoured one.”  Mugalan forthwith went, and with head and face did homage at (Buddha’s) feet.  They then saluted and questioned each other, and when this was over, Buddha said to Mugalan, “Seven days after this I will go down to Jambudvipa;” and thereupon Mugalan returned.  At this time the great kings of eight countries with their ministers and people, not having seen Buddha for a long time, were all thirstily looking up for him, and had collected in clouds in this kingdom to wait for the World-honoured one.

Then the bhikshuni Utpala(6) thought in her heart, “To-day the kings, with their ministers and people, will all be meeting (and welcoming) Buddha.  I am (but) a woman; how shall I succeed in being the first to see him?"(7) Buddha immediately, by his spirit-like power, changed her into the appearance of a holy Chakravartti(8) king, and she was the foremost of all in doing reverence to him.

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A Record of Buddhistic kingdoms: being an account by the Chinese monk Fa-hsien of travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in search of the Buddhist books of discipline from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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