Records of the Buddhist Kingdom
The Famous Chinese Pilgrim Fa Xian (Fa-Hsien) visited India. During his visit, he came to Kapilavastu, Lumbini and Ramagram in 403 A.D. He described these places in his book records of the Buddhist Kingdoms; he mentioned as follows:
The Kapilavastu City was one yojana far away to the east of the sacred place of Kanaka muni Buddha’s birth. The city was bleak and desolate. There were white elephants and lions walking on the road. It was very difficult for the people travel.
The City was also like a barren hill, and there were neither king nor the residents stayed in it, except about 10 monks. A Mahamaya statue was in the palace of Suddhodana, which depicts the prince the prince riding a white elephant to enter his mother’s womb.
The people constructed the pagodas at the following places.
Prince Sakyamuni became very sad by the sight of the suffering of The people when he went out of the Kapilavastu City.
The place where Asita with his super normal vision presicted the prince that he would become a Buddha. the place where Devadatta wanted to destroy the Buddha, and he killed an elephant and put it in the gate of the city to sop Buddha. but Ananda with his took it away.
The place where the prince Sakyamuni showed his many skills, one of them was that he shot an arrow as far as 30li and the arrow entered the earth at the southeast direction. A fountain sprouted out from the earth. Later the people dug a well there and the travelers could drink water from it.
At the place where the Buddha met King Suddhodana after he achieved enlightenment. It is the place where Upali converted five hundred Sakya youths. Meanwhile the earth shook six times.
At the place where King Virudhaka killed the sakyas and the sakyas attained the Srotapanna phala immediately. The people built a pagoda, which is still there.
Several li away from the northeast of the Kapilavastu City, the prince caught a glimpse of the ploughing ceremony sitting under a tree at the royal field.
There was a royal garden at the northeast of the Kapilavastu City. It was named Lumbini.
Mahamaya had a bath in the pond in Lumbini. She walked twenty steps to the north and raised her hand and leaned by a branch of a tree. The prince was born while she was facing the east. The prince walked seven steps in all direction after he was born. Two Dragon Kings bathed the prince’s body immediately. Later the people dug a well there.
The Ramagram Kingdom was five yojanas to the east of the holy place of the Buddha’s birth. The King of the Ramagram Kingdom was one of the eight kings who obtained the Buddha’s relics and he also built a pagoda, which is named Ramagram Pagoda. And the relics were in it for offering. A dragon King was in the pond near this pagoda and the dragon King often kept guard to the pagoda and paid worship to it all day and night.
King Ashoka wanted to open the eight Pagodas to make eighty-four thousand pagodas except the Ramagram. The dragon King appeared when Ashoka wanted to damage the Ramagram pagoda. After Ashoka saw that the dragon King was paying worship and was offering to the pagoda. The Dragon King said, ‘if you could do better offering than this, you could damage this pagoda and nobody would stop you’. Ashoka knew that no offering in the world would be like this and he couldn’t do better than the Dragon King, so he went back to his country without damaging the Pagoda.
The elephants fetched water with their trunks and they took flower and incense for offering.
Ones a religious person came from another country, and wanted to pay worship to the pagoda. He was very frightened by the elephants were paying very respectfully worship to the pagoda. He was very frightened by the elephants, so he hid in a tree to safeguard himself. But he saw the elephants were paying very respectfully worship to the pagoda. He was very mournful and said, ‘Here was no nobody offering the pagoda, except the elephants’. Therefore, he gave up his own religion and become a Sramanera. He was putting the place in order and cleaned it. He also persuaded the King to make a monastery, and he became the chief monk. Up to now, the chief monk of this monastery is a Sramanera. At the present time some monks are staying in the monastery.
The Biography of Zhi Meng:
Chinese Bhikkhu Zhi Meng and his friends traveled in India from 404 A.D. to 424 A.D. The book The Biography of Zhi Meng described that Zhi Meng had arrived in Kapilavastu. And he has seen the relics of Buddha’s hair, Buddha’s tooth and the Buddha’s Usnisa. Kapilavastu was 1300 li west of the Kashgar Kingdom.
Records of the Western Countries of the Tang Dynasty:
Chinese Bhikkhu Xuan Zang (Hsuan Tsang) was a well-known pilgrim to india. He arrived in Kapilavastu, Lumbini and Ramagram in 636 A.D. He also gave a detailed description of these places in his book Records of the western countries of the Tang Dynasty.
He described that:
The Kapilavastu Kingdom was two thousand Km in circumference. There were tem empty cities in the Kingdom. The city was nearly 15 li in circumference. Only a sparse population was in the city. There was no complete building and most of area was either deserted of forest. But the foundation was very solidly built with bricks. There were more than 1000 old foundations of the monastery in the Kapilavastu Kingdom.
There was a monastery beside the place, were 30 monks were staying. They were all practicing the Sammatiya School of the Theravada Buddhism. Two Brahminical Temples were near there and the practitioners came from different heterodox schools.
The old foundation of the great place of suddhodana was in the Kapilavastu city. A monastery was built on the old foundation and statue of Suddhodana was placed on it. On the top of the old foundation of the Mahamaya’s Residence Palace was near it and a monastery was built on it. A monastery was constructed near the Mahamaya’s Statue. It was the place where the Bodhisattva was descended from Trayastrimsat Heaven to Mahamaya’s womb. A statue of Sakyamuni Bodhisattva was there.
There was a stupa to the northeast of the place to mark the sport where Bodhisattva entered into his mother’s womb. Another stupa marked the place where Asita Predicted the prince Siddhartha would become a Buddha in future.
There was a stupa at the southern gate of Kapilavastu City, where the prince Siddhartha showed his skills to the Sakya clansmen. A monastery, stupa & a statue of prince Siddhartha where in it. The foundation of the Yasodhara residence place was near it. A monastery was built on the old foundation, and a statue of Yasodhara and Rahula where in this monastery. The foundation of the prince Siddhartha’s school was near it. A monastery on the old foundation and a statue of prince Siddhartha was in it. This statue symbolized that the prince was studying in this school.
A monastery was near the southeast of the Kapilavastu city, it was the place where the prince Siddhartha left the Kapilavastu City to become a monk. There is a statue of Siddhartha with a white horse. There were four monasteries out side the Kapilavastu City, with a statue of the old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a Sramana.
The old sacred city of Krakucchanda Buddha’s birth was 50 li away from the south of the Kapilavastu City, and there was a stupa. Near this Karakuchchanda’s birthplace, where the enlightened one met his father, another stupa was ta the southeast of the city, and the tathagata’s relucs were in it for offering. A pillar was in front of this stupa, which was 30 chi high and a statue of a lion was on the top of the pillar. The King Ashoka had erected the pillar. A script engraved on the pillar refers the story about this Buddha’s nirvana.
A stupa was 40-50 li at the northeast of the Kapilavastu City. It was the place where the prince Siddhartha sat in the shade under the tree to contemplate the cultivation of the royal field.
There were several thousand stupas at the northwest of the Kapilavastu City. It was the place where King Virudhaka killed 99900000 Sakyas.
There were four small stupas at the southwest of the place where the sons of the Sakya were killed. The four stupas symbolized four sons of the sakya clan who resisted the Virudhaka army to damage the Kapilavastu city. So king Virudhaka drove them away to the show Mountain at the north of the Kapilavastu city. The four persons soon become four kings named the Udayana king, the Himatala king and the Sambhi king and their children also lived there four generation. King Asoka made a stupa at the Nyagrodha forest, as lies 4 li away from the Kapilavastu city. It was the place where the Buddha expounded the dharma to Suddhodana. Suddhodana and his attendants were waiting in this Nyagrodhasangharama (the name of the monastery). A stupa was near the Nyagrodhasangharama, where the Buddha sat, facing north under the tree to accept the Kasaya dress offered by Mahaprajapati. Near this stupa the Buddha gave a dharma talk to save eight princes and 500 sons of the Sakya clan.
Inside the east gate of the Kapilavastu city, a stupa was near the road. It was the place where the prince Sarvarthasiddha (Siddhartha) was learning different sorts of skills. Paranirmita Vasavartin monastery was outside this gate. A stone statue of the Deva was in this monastery. Suddhodana brought prince back to the place from Lumbini after his birth. They went into the monastery to pray for blessings for the prince because the Deva had great power and it would be very efficacious in response to the prayers. The interesting this was that the stone statue of Deva stood up by itself when Mahamaya took the prince into the monastery. It sat down by itself when they went of the monastery.
A stupa was at the roadway outside the southern gate of the Kapilavastu city, it was the place where prince Siddhartha had shooting iron contest and other competition with the sons of the sakya clan.
A small stupa was 30 li southeast away from this stupa will an Arrow fountain.
Lumbini was 80 li away to the northeast from the Arrow fountain. There was pond in Lumbini. The water of this pond was green and clear with flowers. The Asoka tree was 25 steps to the north form the pond, and the prince Siddhartha was born under this tree. A stupa was at the east of the tree and it was it was the place where two Dragons bathed the prince after his birth. King Asoka built a stupa. The newly born prince walked seven steps into four directions, at that time the two Dragons appeared from the earth and they stayed in the sky. Warm and cool water spurted out from the mouth of the Dragons to bathe the prince. Meanwhile from the north of this stupa two springs spurted with warm and cool water bathe Mahamaya. There are two stupas besides these springs.
Another stupa was in front of these two stupas where Mahamaya had bathed it was the place where sacra held the Bodhisattva after his birth; four stupas were next to this stupa. It was the place where Sakra held the Bodhisattva after this birth. Four stupas were nect to this stupa. It was the place where the four Heavenly Kings held the Bodhisattva.
A pillar was near the four stupas, and a horse statue was on the top of the pillar. King Asoka built it. Later the Evil Dragon damaged it with the thunderbolt and it was broken and was lying down on the earth. There was a river near the pillar and it flowed from east to south. The local name was the Oil River. First the Deva made the wonderful oil to bathe Mahamaya to cure the disease after prince was born. After that it become water and flowered south.
The Ramagram Kingdom was more than 100 km east of Lumbini.
Xuan Zhang described Ramagrama mostly the same way like Fa Xian.
The Records of Sojourn in Five regions of India
Xin Luo Bhikkhu Hui Chao traveled in India about 720 A.D. Chao was born in Xin Luo in 704 A.D. He went to china at the age of 20. He had studied the Mahayana Buddhism in China for some time and then he went on pilgrimage to India. He returned to China for some time then he went on pilgrimage to India. He returned to China in 727 A.D. After his wrote whole story of his travel. The book title was The Records of Traveling in Five region of India. The book was lost for a long time. It was only mentioned in the Buddhist Booklists. Fortunately, French scholar P. Pelliot Discovered if in the Tun Huang Cave in 1907 A.D. the incomplete book of Travelling in Five regions of India. Some years a Japanese scholar collected it in the Tripitaka in Chinese.
Hui Chao had described the Kapilavastu City in his book. It is said as follow:
The Mahayana Buddhism and Theravada Buddhism are both widely known in central India. There are four pagodas in the area of central India. Three of them are at the north bank of the Gangas River.
One of them is in the Anathapindada Garden of Sravasti where one can see the Temples and the Monks.
One of them is in the Amrapali Garden of the Vaisali City. The pagoda is still preserved, but the temple is desolated and without monks.
One of them is in Kapilavastu. Kapilavastu was the city where Buddha was born. The Asoka Tree is still there. There are neither monks nor peasants and the city is deserted, but the pagoda is preserved. Most of the place is deserted and full of jungle at the Kapilavastu City, it is hardly possible for the pilgrims to discern the direction or the right way. Robbers were often around the roadway.
The forth pagoda is named ‘Three-paths of the invaluable-steps’ pagoda. It is about seven days walk from the Heavenly City in Central India, and it is located between the two Gangas Rivers. It was constructed there because it is the place where Buddha returned from the Trayastrimsa to Jambudvipa. There became three paths of the invaluable steps. The left path is golden, the right path is silver and the middle path is lapis lazuli. The Brahma is at the left path. The Sovereign Sakra is at right path. Buddha is at the middle path. The Brahma and Sovereign Sakra are as attendants of Buddha, and they came back from Trayastrimsa all together. The temples and monks are around the pagoda now.
The Records of Wu Kong’s Travel in India
Chinese Bhikkhu Wu Kong Visited India from 751 A.D. In his book R ecord of wu Kong Traveled in India he only mentioned that he had seen the stupa in Kapilavastu and the pagoda at the sacred place of Buddha’s birth in 764 A.D.
- li and chi which use to measure to measure the distance.
- Xin Lou is one state in Korea. The ancient Korea consists of three States; it is Xin Lou, Gau Li and Bai Qi. The territory of the three states is the present North Korea and South Korea all together.
- The Tripitaka in Chinese is also named The Taisho shinshu Daizokyo that was published by the Taisho Shinshu Daizokyo Knoka kai (Society for the publication of the Taisho Tripitaka). Mejirodai, Bunkyo. The Chinese spelling is Da zheng zang.
- Buddha was born under the Asoka Tree.
- Trayastrimsa is the second of the desire heavens. It is also named the heavens of the thirty-three devas.
- Jambudvipa is one of the continents that are situated south of Mt. Meru.
- The Brahma who rules over the Brahma Heaven.
- The Soverign Sakra who rules over the Tryastrimsa Heaven.
- The above is a story about Buddha’ mother Mahayama. Mahamaya passed away after seven days of the birth of Buddha and she was reborn in the Trayastrimsa Heaven. So even years after the Buddha achieved Enlightenment.
Buddha went to the Trayastrimsa Heaven and preached the Dharma to Mahamaya. After that Buddha came down from Tryastrimsa Heaven and descended to Jambudvipa at a city called Samkassa.
The original Chinese text about Fa Xian’s visit to Kapilavastu, Lumbini and Ramagrama is in 51 p86 la of the Tripitaka in Chinese.
The original Chinese text about Zuan Mang’s visit Kapilavastu is in 50p343b pf The tripitaka in Chinese.
The Chinese text about Xuan Zhang’s visit to Kapilavastu, Lumbini and Ramagrama is in 51p900c of The Tripitaka in Chinese.
The original Chinese text about Hui visit to Kapilavastu is in 51p975c of The Tripitaka in Chinese. The original Chinese text about Wu Kong’s visit to Kapilavastu and Lumbini is in 51p979b of The Tripitaka in Chinese.