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.

   (4) This village (the Chinese editions read “forest”) has hardly been
   clearly identified.

CHAPTER XIX

Sha-cheLegend of Buddha’s danta-kashtha.

Going on from this to the south-east for three yojanas, they came to the great kingdom of Sha-che.(1) As you go out of the city of Sha-che by the southern gate, on the east of the road (is the place) where Buddha, after he had chewed his willow branch,(2) stuck it in the ground, when it forthwith grew up seven cubits, (at which height it remained) neither increasing nor diminishing.  The Brahmans with their contrary doctrines(3) became angry and jealous.  Sometimes they cut the tree down, sometimes they plucked it up, and cast it to a distance, but it grew again on the same spot as at first.  Here also is the place where the four Buddhas walked and sat, and at which a tope was built that is still existing.

   Notes

(1) Sha-che should probably be Sha-khe, making Cunningham’s identification of the name with the present Saket still more likely.  The change of {.} into {.} is slight; and, indeed, the Khang-hsi dictionary thinks the two characters should be but one and the same.
(2) This was, no doubt, what was called the danta-kashtha, or “dental wood,” mostly a bit of the ficus Indicus or banyan tree, which the monk chews every morning to cleanse his teeth, and for the purpose of health generally.  The Chinese, not having the banyan, have used, or at least Fa-hien used, Yang ({.}, the general name for the willow) instead of it.
(3) Are two classes of opponents, or only one, intended here, so that we should read “all the unbelievers and Brahmans,” or “heretics and Brahmans?” I think the Brahmans were also “the unbelievers” and “heretics,” having {.} {.}, views and ways outside of, and opposed to, Buddha’s.

CHAPTER XX

KOSALA AND SRAVASTI.  THE JETAVANA VIHARA AND OTHER MEMORIALS AND LEGENDS OF BUDDHA.  SYMPATHY OF THE MONKS WITH THE PILGRIMS.

Going on from this to the south, for eight yojanas, (the travellers) came to the city of Sravasti(1) in the kingdom of Kosala,(2) in which the inhabitants were few and far between, amounting in all (only) to a few more than two hundred families; the city where king Prasenajit(3) ruled, and the place of the old vihara of Maha-prajapti;(4) of the well and walls of (the house of) the (Vaisya) head Sudatta;(5) and where the Angulimalya(6) became an Arhat, and his body was (afterwards) burned on his attaining to pari-nirvana.  At all these places topes were subsequently erected, which are still existing in the city.  The Brahmans, with their contrary doctrine, became full of hatred and envy in their hearts, and wished to destroy them, but there came from the heavens such a storm of crashing thunder and flashing lightning that they were not able in the end to effect their purpose.

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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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