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.
(5) See Mr. Bunyiu Nanjio’s “Catalogue of the Chinese Translation of the Buddhist Tripitaka,” Sutra Pitaka, Nos. 399, 446.  It was the former of these that came on this occasion to the thoughts and memory of Fa-hien.
(6) In a note (p. lx) to his revised version of our author, Mr. Beal says, “There is a full account of this perilous visit of Fa-hien, and how he was attacked by tigers, in the ‘History of the High Priests.’” But “the high priests” merely means distinguished monks, “eminent monks,” as Mr. Nanjio exactly renders the adjectival character.  Nor was Fa-hien “attacked by tigers” on the peak.  No “tigers” appear in the Memoir.  “Two black lions” indeed crouched before him for a time this night, “licking their lips and waving their tails;” but their appearance was to “try,” and not to attack him; and when they saw him resolute, they “drooped their heads, put down their tails, and prostrated themselves before him.”  This of course is not an historical account, but a legendary tribute to his bold perseverance.

CHAPTER XXX

THE SRATAPARNA CAVE, OR CAVE OF THE FIRST COUNCIL.  LEGENDS.  SUICIDE OF A BHIKSHU.

Out from the old city, after walking over 300 paces, on the west of the road, (the travellers) found the Karanda Bamboo garden,(1) where the (old) vihara is still in existence, with a company of monks, who keep (the ground about it) swept and watered.

North of the vihara two or three le there was the Smasanam, which name means in Chinese “the field of graves into which the dead are thrown."(2)

As they kept along the mountain on the south, and went west for 300 paces, they found a dwelling among the rocks, named the Pippala cave,(3) in which Buddha regularly sat in meditation after taking his (midday) meal.

Going on still to the west for five or six le, on the north of the hill, in the shade, they found the cavern called Srataparna,(4) the place where, after the nirvana(5) of Buddha, 500 Arhats collected the Sutras.  When they brought the Sutras forth, three lofty seats(6) had been prepared and grandly ornamented.  Sariputtra occupied the one on the left, and Maudgalyayana that on the right.  Of the number of five hundred one was wanting.  Mahakasyapa was president (on the middle seat).  Amanda was then outside the door, and could not get in.(7) At the place there was (subsequently) raised a tope, which is still existing.

Along (the sides of) the hill, there are also a very great many cells among the rocks, where the various Arhans sat and meditated.  As you leave the old city on the north, and go down east for three le, there is the rock dwelling of Devadatta, and at a distance of fifty paces from it there is a large, square, black rock.  Formerly there was a bhikshu, who, as he walked backwards and forwards upon it, thought with himself:—­“This body(8) is impermanent, a thing of bitterness and vanity,(9) and which cannot

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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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