The Travels of Fa-Hien
RAJAGRIHA, NEW AND OLD. LEGENDS AND INCIDENTS CONNECTED WITH IT.
(The travellers) went on from this to the south-east for nine yojanas,
and came to a small solitary rocky hill,
at the head or end of
was an apartment of stone, facing the south,--the place where
Buddha sat, when Sakra, Ruler of Devas, brought the deva-musician,
to give pleasure to him by playing on his lute.
Sakra then asked Buddha about forty-two subjects, tracing (the
questions) out with his finger one by one on the rock.
of his tracing are still there; and here also there is a monastery.
A yojana south-west from this place brought them to the village of
was born, and to which also he returned,
and attained here his pari-nirvana. Over the spot (where his body was
burned) there was built a tope, which is still in existence.
Another yojana to the west brought them to New Rajagriha,
city which was built by king Ajatasatru. There were two monasteries in
it. Three hundred paces outside the west gate, king Ajatasatru, having
obtained one portion of the relics of Buddha, built (over them) a
tope, high, large, grand, and beautiful. Leaving the city by the south
gate, and proceeding south four le, one enters a valley, and comes to
a circular space formed by five hills, which stand all round it, and
have the appearance of the suburban wall of a city. Here was the old
city of king Bimbisara; from east to west about five or six le, and
from north to south seven or eight. It was here that Sariputtra and
Maudgalyayana first saw Upasena;
that the Nirgrantha
made a pit
of fire and poisoned the rice, and then invited Buddha (to eat with
him); that king Ajatasatru made a black elephant intoxicated with
liquor, wishing him to injure Buddha;
and that at the north-east
corner of the city in a (large) curving (space) Jivaka built a vihara
in the garden of Ambapali,
and invited Buddha with his 1250
disciples to it, that he might there make his offerings to support
them. (These places) are still there as of old, but inside the city
all is emptiness and desolation; no man dwells in it.
Called by Hsuan-chwang Indra-sila-guha, or "The cavern of Indra."
It has been identified with a hill near the village of Giryek, on the
bank of the Panchana river, about thirty-six miles from Gaya. The hill
terminates in two peaks overhanging the river, and it is the more
northern and higher of these which Fa-hien had in mind. It bears an
oblong terrace covered with the ruins of several buildings, especially
of a vihara.
This does not mean the top or summit of the hill, but its
"headland," where it ended at the river.
See the account of this visit of Sakra in M. B., pp. 288-290. It
is from Hardy that we are able to complete here the name of the
musician, which appears in Fa-hien as only Pancha, or "Five." His harp
or lute, we are told, was "twelve miles long."
Hardy (M. B., pp. 288, 289) makes the subjects only thirteen,
which are still to be found in one of the Sutras ("the Dik-Sanga, in
the Sakra-prasna Sutra"). Whether it was Sakra who wrote his
questions, or Buddha who wrote the answers, depends on the
punctuation. It seems better to make Sakra the writer.
Or Nalanda; identified with the present Baragong. A grand
monastery was subsequently built at it, famous by the residence for
five years of Hsuan-chwang.
See chap. xvi, note 11. There is some doubt as to the statement
that Nala was his birthplace.
The city of "Royal Palaces;" "the residence of the Magadha kings
from Bimbisara to Asoka, the first metropolis of Buddhism, at the foot
of the Gridhrakuta mountains. Here the first synod assembled within a
year after Sakyamuni's death. Its ruins are still extant at the
village of Rajghir, sixteen miles S.W. of Behar, and form an object of
pilgrimage to the Jains (E. H., p. 100)." It is called New Rajagriha
to distinguish it from Kusagarapura, a few miles from it, the old
residence of the kings. Eitel says it was built by Bimbisara, while
Fa-hien ascribes it to Ajatasatru. I suppose the son finished what the
father had begun.
One of the five first followers of Sakyamuni. He is also called
Asvajit; in Pali Assaji; but Asvajit seems to be a military title=
"Master or trainer of horses." The two more famous disciples met him,
not to lead him, but to be directed by him, to Buddha. See Sacred
Books of the East, vol. xiii, Vinaya Texts, pp. 144-147.
One of the six Tirthyas (Tirthakas="erroneous teachers;" M. B.,
pp. 290-292, but I have not found the particulars of the attempts on
Buddha's life referred to by Fa-hien), or Brahmanical opponents of
Buddha. He was an ascetic, one of the Jnati clan, and is therefore
called Nirgranthajnati. He taught a system of fatalism, condemned the
use of clothes, and thought he could subdue all passions by fasting.
He had a body of followers, who called themselves by his name (Eitel,
pp. 84, 85), and were the forerunners of the Jains.
The king was moved to this by Devadatta. Of course the elephant
disappointed them, and did homage to Sakyamuni. See Sacred Books of
the East, vol. xx, Vinaya Texts, p. 247.
See chap. xxv, note 3. Jivaka was Ambapali's son by king
Bimbisara, and devoted himself to the practice of medicine. See the
account of him in the Sacred Books of the East, vol. xvii, Vinaya
Texts, pp. 171-194.