From this place, after travelling to the west for four yojanas, (the pilgrims) came to the city of Gaya;[1] but inside the city all was emptiness and desolation. Going on again to the south for twenty le, they arrived at the place where the Bodhisattva for six years practised with himself painful austerities. All around was forest.

Three le west from here they came to the place where, when Buddha had gone into the water to bathe, a deva bent down the branch of a tree, by means of which he succeeded in getting out of the pool.[2]

Two le north from this was the place where the Gramika girls presented to Buddha the rice-gruel made with milk;[3] and two le north from this (again) was the place where, seated on a rock under a great tree, and facing the east, he ate (the gruel). The tree and the rock are there at the present day. The rock may be six cubits in breadth and length, and rather more than two cubits in height. In Central India the cold and heat are so equally tempered that trees will live in it for several thousand and even for ten thousand years.

Half a yojana from this place to the north-east there was a cavern in the rocks, into which the Bodhisattva entered, and sat cross-legged with his face to the west. (As he did so), he said to himself, "If I am to attain to perfect wisdom (and become Buddha), let there be a supernatural attestation of it." On the wall of the rock there appeared immediately the shadow of a Buddha, rather more than three feet in length, which is still bright at the present day. At this moment heaven and earth were greatly moved, and devas in the air spoke plainly, "This is not the place where any Buddha of the past, or he that is to come, has attained, or will attain, to perfect Wisdom. Less than half a yojana from this to the south-west will bring you to the patra[4] tree, where all past Buddhas have attained, and all to come must attain, to perfect Wisdom." When they had spoken these words, they immediately led the way forwards to the place, singing as they did so. As they thus went away, the Bodhisattva arose and walked (after them). At a distance of thirty paces from the tree, a deva gave him the grass of lucky omen,[5] which he received and went on. After (he had proceeded) fifteen paces, 500 green birds came flying towards him, went round him thrice, and disappeared. The Bodhisattva went forward to the patra tree, placed the kusa grass at the foot of it, and sat down with his face to the east. Then king Mara sent three beautiful young ladies, who came from the north, to tempt him, while he himself came from the south to do the same. The Bodhisattva put his toes down on the ground, and the demon soldiers retired and dispersed, and the three young ladies were changed into old (grand-)mothers.[6]

At the place mentioned above of the six years' painful austerities, and at all these other places, men subsequently reared topes and set up images, which all exist at the present day.

Where Buddha, after attaining to perfect wisdom, for seven days contemplated the tree, and experienced the joy of vimukti;[7] where, under the patra tree, he walked backwards and forwards from west to east for seven days; where the devas made a hall appear, composed of the seven precious substances, and presented offerings to him for seven days; where the blind dragon Muchilinda[8] encircled him for seven days; where he sat under the nyagrodha tree, on a square rock, with his face to the east, and Brahma-deva[9] came and made his request to him; where the four deva kings brought to him their alms- bowls;[10] where the 500 merchants[11] presented to him the roasted flour and honey; and where he converted the brothers Kasyapa and their thousand disciples;[12]--at all these places topes were reared.

At the place where Buddha attained to perfect Wisdom, there are three monasteries, in all of which there are monks residing. The families of their people around supply the societies of these monks with an abundant sufficiency of what they require, so that there is no lack or stint.[13] The disciplinary rules are strictly observed by them. The laws regulating their demeanour in sitting, rising, and entering when the others are assembled, are those which have been practised by all the saints since Buddha was in the world down to the present day. The places of the four great topes have been fixed, and handed down without break, since Buddha attained to nirvana. Those four great topes are those at the places where Buddha was born; where he attained to Wisdom; where he (began to) move the wheel of his Law; and where he attained to pari-nirvana.


[1] Gaya, a city of Magadha, was north-west of the present Gayah (lat. 24d 47s N., lon. 85d 1s E). It was here that Sakyamuni lived for seven years, after quitting his family, until he attained to Buddhaship. The place is still frequented by pilgrims. E. H., p. 41.

[2] This is told so as to make us think that he was in danger of being drowned; but this does not appear in the only other account of the incident I have met with,--in "The Life of the Buddha," p. 31. And he was not yet Buddha, though he is here called so; unless indeed the narrative is confused, and the incidents do not follow in the order of time.

[3] An incident similar to this is told, with many additions, in Hardy's M. B., pp. 166-168; "The Life of the Buddha," p. 30; and the "Buddhist Birth Stories," pp. 91, 92; but the name of the ministering girl or girls is different. I take Gramika from a note in Beal's revised version; it seems to me a happy solution of the difficulty caused by the {.} {.} of Fa-hien.

[4] Called "the tree of leaves," and "the tree of reflection;" a palm tree, the /borassus flabellifera/, described as a tree which never loses its leaves. It is often confounded with the pippala. E. H., p. 92.

[5] The kusa grass, mentioned in a previous note.

[6] See the account of this contest with Mara in M. B., pp. 171-179, and "Buddhist Birth Stories," pp. 96-101.

[7] See chap. xiii, note 7.

[8] Called also Maha, or the Great Muchilinda. Eitel says: "A naga king, the tutelary deity of a lake near which Sakyamuni once sat for seven days absorbed in meditation, whilst the king guarded him." The account (p. 35) in "The Life of the Buddha" is:--"Buddha went to where lived the naga king Muchilinda, and he, wishing to preserve him from the sun and rain, wrapped his body seven times round him, and spread out his hood over his head; and there he remained seven days in thought." So also the Nidana Katha, in "Buddhist Birth Stories," p. 109.

[9] This was Brahma himself, though "king" is omitted. What he requested of the Buddha was that he would begin the preaching of his Law. Nidana Katha, p. 111.

[10] See chap. xii, note 10.

[11] The other accounts mention only two; but in M. B., p. 182, and the Nidana Katha, p. 110, these two have 500 well-laden waggons with them.

[12] These must not be confounded with Mahakasyapa of chap. xvi, note 17. They were three brothers, Uruvilva, Gaya, and Nadi-Kasyapa, up to this time holders of "erroneous" views, having 500, 300, and 200 disciples respectively. They became distinguished followers of Sakyamuni; and are--each of them--to become Buddha by-and-by. See the Nidana Katha, pp. 114, 115.

[13] This seems to be the meaning; but I do not wonder that some understand the sentence of the benevolence of the monkish population to the travellers.



When king Asoka, in a former birth,[1] was a little boy and played on the road, he met Kasyapa Buddha walking. (The stranger) begged food, and the boy pleasantly took a handful of earth and gave it to him. The Buddha took the earth, and returned it to the ground on which he was walking; but because of this (the boy) received the recompense of becoming a king of the iron wheel,[2] to rule over Jambudvipa. (Once) when he was making a judicial tour of inspection through Jambudvipa, he saw, between the iron circuit of the two hills, a naraka[3] for the punishment of wicked men. Having thereupon asked his ministers what sort of a thing it was, they replied, "It belongs to Yama,[4] king of demons, for punishing wicked people." The king thought within himself: --"(Even) the king of demons is able to make a naraka in which to deal with wicked men; why should not I, who am the lord of men, make a naraka in which to deal with wicked men?" He forthwith asked his ministers who could make for him a naraka and preside over the punishment of wicked people in it. They replied that it was only a man of extreme wickedness who could make it; and the king thereupon sent officers to seek everywhere for (such) a bad man; and they saw by the side of a pond a man tall and strong, with a black countenance, yellow hair, and green eyes, hooking up the fish with his feet, while he called to him birds and beasts, and, when they came, then shot and killed them, so that not one escaped. Having got this man, they took him to the king, who secretly charged him, "You must make a square enclosure with high walls. Plant in it all kinds of flowers and fruits; make good ponds in it for bathing; make it grand and imposing in every way, so that men shall look to it with thirsting desire; make its gates strong and sure; and when any one enters, instantly seize him and punish him as a sinner, not allowing him to get out. Even if I should enter, punish me as a sinner in the same way, and do not let me go. I now appoint you master of that naraka."

Soon after this a bhikshu, pursuing his regular course of begging his food, entered the gate (of the place). When the lictors of the naraka saw him, they were about to subject him to their tortures; but he, frightened, begged them to allow him a moment in which to eat his midday meal. Immediately after, there came in another man, whom they thrust into a mortar and pounded till a red froth overflowed. As the bhikshu looked on, there came to him the thought of the impermanence, the painful suffering and insanity of this body, and how it is but as a bubble and as foam; and instantly he attained to Arhatship. Immediately after, the lictors seized him, and threw him into a caldron of boiling water. There was a look of joyful satisfaction, however, in the bhikshu's countenance. The fire was extinguished, and the water became cold. In the middle (of the caldron) there rose up a lotus flower, with the bhikshu seated on it. The lictors at once went and reported to the king that there was a marvellous occurrence in the naraka, and wished him to go and see it; but the king said, "I formerly made such an agreement that now I dare not go (to the place)." The lictors said, "This is not a small matter. Your majesty ought to go quickly. Let your former agreement be altered." The king thereupon followed them, and entered (the naraka), when the bhikshu preached the Law to him, and he believed, and was made free.[5] Forthwith he demolished the naraka, and repented of all the evil which he had formerly done. From this time he believed in and honoured the Three Precious Ones, and constantly went to a patra tree, repenting under it, with self-reproach, of his errors, and accepting the eight rules of abstinence.[6]

The queen asked where the king was constantly going to, and the ministers replied that he was constantly to be seen under (such and such) a patra tree. She watched for a time when the king was not there, and then sent men to cut the tree down. When the king came, and saw what had been done, he swooned away with sorrow, and fell to the ground. His ministers sprinkled water on his face, and after a considerable time he revived. He then built all round (the stump) with bricks, and poured a hundred pitchers of cows' milk on the roots; and as he lay with his four limbs spread out on the ground, he took this oath, "If the tree do not live, I will never rise from this." When he had uttered this oath, the tree immediately began to grow from the roots, and it has continued to grow till now, when it is nearly 100 cubits in height.


[1] Here is an instance of {.} used, as was pointed out in chap. ix, note 3, for a former age; and not merely a former time. Perhaps "a former birth" is the best translation. The Corean reading of Kasyapa Buddha is certainly preferable to the Chinese "Sakya Buddha."

[2] See chap. xvii, note 8.

[3] I prefer to retain the Sanskrit term here, instead of translating the Chinese text by "Earth's prison {.} {.}," or "a prison in the earth;" the name for which has been adopted generally by Christian missionaries in China for gehenna and hell.

[4] Eitel (p. 173) says:--"Yama was originally the Aryan god of the dead, living in a heaven above the world, the regent of the south; but Brahmanism transferred his abode to hell. Both views have been retained by Buddhism." The Yama of the text is the "regent of the narakas, residing south of Jambudvipa, outside the Chakravalas (the double circuit of mountains above), in a palace built of brass and iron. He has a sister who controls all the female culprits, as he exclusively deals with the male sex. Three times, however, in every twenty-four hours, a demon pours boiling copper into Yama's mouth, and squeezes it down his throat, causing him unspeakable pain." Such, however, is the wonderful "transrotation of births," that when Yama's sins have been expiated, he is to be reborn as Buddha, under the name of "The Universal King."

[5] Or, "was loosed;" from the bonds, I suppose, of his various illusions.

[6] I have not met with this particular numerical category.



(The travellers), going on from this three le to the south, came to a mountain named Gurupada,[1] inside which Mahakasyapa even now is. He made a cleft, and went down into it, though the place where he entered would not (now) admit a man. Having gone down very far, there was a hole on one side, and there the complete body of Kasyapa (still) abides. Outside the hole (at which he entered) is the earth with which he had washed his hands.[2] If the people living thereabouts have a sore on their heads, they plaster on it some of the earth from this, and feel immediately easier.[3] On this mountain, now as of old, there are Arhats abiding. Devotees of our Law from the various countries in that quarter go year by year to the mountain, and present offerings to Kasyapa; and to those whose hearts are strong in faith there come Arhats at night, and talk with them, discussing and explaining their doubts, and disappearing suddenly afterwards.

On this hill hazels grow luxuriously; and there are many lions, tigers, and wolves, so that people should not travel incautiously.


[1] "Fowl's-foot hill," "with three peaks, resembling the foot of a chicken. It lies seven miles south-east of Gaya, and was the residence of Mahakasyapa, who is said to be still living inside this mountain." So Eitel says, p. 58; but this chapter does not say that Kasyapa is in the mountain alive, but that his body entire is in a recess or hole in it. Hardy (M. B., p. 97) says that after Kasyapa Buddha's body was burnt, the bones still remained in their usual position, presenting the appearance of a perfect skeleton. It is of him that the chapter speaks, and not of the famous disciple of Sakyamuni, who also is called Mahakasyapa. This will appear also on a comparison of Eitel's articles on "Mahakasyapa" and "Kasyapa Buddha."

[2] Was it a custom to wash the hands with "earth," as is often done with sand?

[3] This I conceive to be the meaning here.



Fa-hien[1] returned (from here) towards Pataliputtra,[2] keeping along the course of the Ganges and descending in the direction of the west. After going ten yojanas he found a vihara, named "The Wilderness,"--a place where Buddha had dwelt, and where there are monks now.

Pursuing the same course, and going still to the west, he arrived, after twelve yojanas, at the city of Varanasi[3] in the kingdom of Kasi. Rather more than ten le to the north-east of the city, he found the vihara in the park of "The rishi's Deer-wild."[4] In this park there formerly resided a Pratyeka Buddha,[5] with whom the deer were regularly in the habit of stopping for the night. When the World- honoured one was about to attain to perfect Wisdom, the devas sang in the sky, "The son of king Suddhodana, having quitted his family and studied the Path (of Wisdom),[6] will now in seven days become Buddha." The Pratyeka Buddha heard their words, and immediately attained to nirvana; and hence this place was named "The Park of the rishi's Deer-wild."[7] After the World-honoured one had attained to perfect Wisdom, men build the vihara in it.

Buddha wished to convert Kaundinya[8] and his four companions; but they, (being aware of his intention), said to one another, "This Sramana Gotama[9] for six years continued in the practice of painful austerities, eating daily (only) a single hemp-seed, and one grain of rice, without attaining to the Path (of Wisdom); how much less will he do so now that he has entered (again) among men, and is giving the reins to (the indulgence of) his body, his speech, and his thoughts! What has he to do with the Path (of Wisdom)? To-day, when he comes to us, let us be on our guard not to speak with him." At the places where the five men all rose up, and respectfully saluted (Buddha), when he came to them; where, sixty paces north from this, he sat with his face to the east, and first turned the wheel of the Law, converting Kaundinya and the four others; where, twenty paces further to the north, he delivered his prophecy concerning Maitreya;[10] and where, at a distance of fifty paces to the south, the dragon Elapattra[11] asked him, "When shall I get free from this naga body?"--at all these places topes were reared, and are still existing. In (the park) there are two monasteries, in both of which there are monks residing.

When you go north-west from the vihara of the Deer-wild park for thirteen yojanas, there is a kingdom named Kausambi.[12] Its vihara is named Ghochiravana[13]--a place where Buddha formerly resided. Now, as of old, there is a company of monks there, most of whom are students of the hinayana.

East from (this), when you have travelled eight yojanas, is the place where Buddha converted[14] the evil demon. There, and where he walked (in meditation) and sat at the place which was his regular abode, there have been topes erected. There is also a monastery, which may contain more than a hundred monks.


[1] Fa-hien is here mentioned singly, as in the account of his visit to the cave on Gridhra-kuta. I think that Tao-ching may have remained at Patna after their first visit to it.

[2] See chap. xxvii, note 1.

[3] "The city surrounded by rivers;" the modern Benares, lat. 25d 23s N., lon. 83d 5s E.

[4] "The rishi," says Eitel, "is a man whose bodily frame has undergone a certain transformation by dint of meditation and ascetism, so that he is, for an indefinite period, exempt from decrepitude, age, and death. As this period is believed to extend far beyond the usual duration of human life, such persons are called, and popularly believed to be, immortals." Rishis are divided into various classes; and rishi-ism is spoken of as a seventh part of transrotation, and rishis are referred to as the seventh class of sentient beings. Taoism, as well as Buddhism, has its Seen jin.

[5] See chap. xiii, note 15.

[6] See chap. xxii, note 2.

[7] For another legend about this park, and the identification of "a fine wood" still existing, see note in Beal's first version, p. 135.

[8] A prince of Magadha and a maternal uncle of Sakyamuni, who gave him the name of Ajnata, meaning automat; and hence he often appears as Ajnata Kaundinya. He and his four friends had followed Sakyamuni into the Uruvilva desert, sympathising with him in the austerities he endured, and hoping that they would issue in his Buddhaship. They were not aware that that issue had come; which may show us that all the accounts in the thirty-first chapter are merely descriptions, by means of external imagery, of what had taken place internally. The kingdom of nirvana had come without observation. These friends knew it not; and they were offended by what they considered Sakyamuni's failure, and the course he was now pursuing. See the account of their conversion in M. B., p. 186.

[9] This is the only instance in Fa-hien's text where the Bodhisattva or Buddha is called by the surname "Gotama." For the most part our traveller uses Buddha as a proper name, though it properly means "The Enlightened." He uses also the combinations "Sakya Buddha,"="The Buddha of the Sakya tribe," and "Sakyamuni,"="The Sakya sage." This last is the most common designation of the Buddha in China, and to my mind best combines the characteristics of a descriptive and a proper name. Among other Buddhistic peoples "Gotama" and "Gotama Buddha" are the more frequent designations. It is not easy to account for the rise of the surname Gotama in the Sakya family, as Oldenberg acknowledges. He says that "the Sakyas, in accordance with the custom of Indian noble families, had borrowed it from one of the ancient Vedic bard families." Dr. Davids ("Buddhism," p. 27) says: "The family name was certainly Gautama," adding in a note, "It is a curious fact that Gautama is still the family name of the Rajput chiefs of Nagara, the village which has been identified with Kapilavastu." Dr. Eitel says that "Gautama was the sacerdotal name of the Sakya family, which counted the ancient rishi Gautama among its ancestors." When we proceed, however, to endeavour to trace the connexion of that Brahmanical rishi with the Sakya house, by means of 1323, 1468, 1469, and other historical works in Nanjio's Catalogue, we soon find that Indian histories have no surer foundation than the shifting sand;--see E. H., on the name Sakya, pp. 108, 109. We must be content for the present simply to accept Gotama as one of the surnames of the Buddha with whom we have to do.

[10] See chap. vi, note 5. It is there said that the prediction of Maitreya's succession to the Buddhaship was made to him in the Tushita heaven. Was there a repetition of it here in the Deer-park, or was a prediction now given concerning something else?

[11] Nothing seems to be known of this naga but what we read here.

[12] Identified by some with Kusia, near Kurrah (lat. 25d 41s N., lon. 81d 27s E.); by others with Kosam on the Jumna, thirty miles above Allahabad. See E. H., p. 55.

[13] Ghochira was the name of a Vaisya elder, or head, who presented a garden and vihara to Buddha. Hardy (M. B., p. 356) quotes a statement from a Singhalese authority that Sakyamuni resided here during the ninth year of his Buddhaship.

[14] Dr. Davids thinks this may refer to the striking and beautiful story of the conversion of the Yakkha Alavaka, as related in the Uragavagga, Alavakasutta, pp. 29-31 (Sacred Books of the East, vol. x, part ii).



South from this 200 yojanas, there is a country named Dakshina,[1] where there is a monastery (dedicated to) the bygone Kasyapa Buddha, and which has been hewn out from a large hill of rock. It consists in all of five storeys;--the lowest, having the form of an elephant, with 500 apartments in the rock; the second, having the form of a lion, with 400 apartments; the third, having the form of a horse, with 300 apartments; the fourth, having the form of an ox, with 200 apartments; and the fifth, having the form of a pigeon, with 100 apartments. At the very top there is a spring, the water of which, always in front of the apartments in the rock, goes round among the rooms, now circling, now curving, till in this way it arrives at the lowest storey, having followed the shape of the structure, and flows out there at the door. Everywhere in the apartments of the monks, the rock has been pierced so as to form windows for the admission of light, so that they are all bright, without any being left in darkness. At the four corners of the (tiers of) apartments, the rock has been hewn so as to form steps for ascending to the top (of each). The men of the present day, being of small size, and going up step by step, manage to get to the top; but in a former age, they did so at one step.[2] Because of this, the monastery is called Paravata, that being the Indian name for a pigeon. There are always Arhats residing in it.

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.