The country about is (a tract of) uncultivated hillocks,(3) without inhabitants. At a very long distance from the hill there are villages, where the people all have bad and erroneous views, and do not know the Sramanas of the Law of Buddha, Brahmanas, or (devotees of) any of the other and different schools. The people of that country are constantly seeing men on the wing, who come and enter this monastery. On one occasion, when devotees of various countries came to perform their worship at it, the people of those villages said to them, “Why do you not fly? The devotees whom we have seen hereabouts all fly;” and the strangers answered, on the spur of the moment, “Our wings are not yet fully formed.”
The kingdom of Dakshina is out of the way, and perilous to traverse. There are difficulties in connexion with the roads; but those who know how to manage such difficulties and wish to proceed should bring with them money and various articles, and give them to the king. He will then send men to escort them. These will (at different stages) pass them over to others, who will show them the shortest routes. Fa-hien, however, was after all unable to go there; but having received the (above) accounts from men of the country, he has narrated them.
(1) Said to be the ancient name of the Deccan. As to the various marvels in the chapter, it must be borne in mind that our author, as he tells us at the end, only gives them from hearsay. See “Buddhist Records of the Western World,” vol. ii, pp. 214, 215, where the description, however, is very different.
(2) Compare the account of Buddha’s
great stride of fifteen yojanas in
Ceylon, as related in chapter xxxviii.
(3) See the same phrase in the Books
of the Later Han dynasty, the
twenty-fourth Book of Biographies, p. 9b.
IN PATNA. FA-HIEN’S LABOURS IN TRANSCRIPTION OF MANUSCRIPTS, AND INDIAN STUDIES FOR THREE YEARS.
From Varanasi (the travellers) went back east to Pataliputtra. Fa-hien’s original object had been to search for (copies of) the Vinaya. In the various kingdoms of North India, however, he had found one master transmitting orally (the rules) to another, but no written copies which he could transcribe. He had therefore travelled far and come on to Central India. Here, in the mahayana monastery,(1) he found a copy of the Vinaya, containing the Mahasanghika(2) rules,—those which were observed in the first Great Council, while Buddha was still in the world. The original copy was handed down in the Jetavana vihara. As to the other eighteen schools,(3) each one has the views and decisions of its own masters. Those agree (with this) in the general meaning, but they have small and trivial differences, as when one opens and another shuts.(4) This copy (of the rules), however, is the most complete, with the fullest explanations.(5)