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Chapter XII
Purushapura, or Peshawur. Prophecy About King Kanishka and His Tope. Buddha’s Alms-Bowl. Death of Hwuy-Ying.

Going southwards from Gandhara, (the travellers) in four days arrived at the kingdom of Purushapura.1 Formerly, when Buddha was travelling in this country with his disciples, he said to Ananda,2 “After my pari-nirvana,3 there will be a king named Kanishka,4 who shall on this spot build a tope.” This Kanishka was afterwards born into the world; and (once), when he had gone forth to look about him, Sakra, Ruler of Devas, wishing to excite the idea in his mind, assumed the appearance of a little herd-boy, and was making a tope right in the way (of the king), who asked what sort of thing he was making. The boy said, “I am making a tope for Buddha.” The king said, “Very good;” and immediately, right over the boy’s tope, he (proceeded to) rear another, which was more than four hundred cubits high, and adorned with layers of all the precious substances. Of all the topes and temples which (the travellers) saw in their journeyings, there was not one comparable to this in solemn beauty and majestic grandeur. There is a current saying that this is the finest tope in Jambudvipa.5 When the king’s tope was completed, the little tope (of the boy) came out from its side on the south, rather more than three cubits in height.

Buddha’s alms-bowl is in this country. Formerly, a king of Yueh-she6 raised a large force and invaded this country, wishing to carry the bowl away. Having subdued the kingdom, as he and his captains were sincere believers in the Law of Buddha, and wished to carry off the bowl, they proceeded to present their offerings on a great scale. When they had done so to the Three Precious Ones, he made a large elephant be grandly caparisoned, and placed the bowl upon it. But the elephant knelt down on the ground, and was unable to go forward. Again he caused a four-wheeled waggon to be prepared in which the bowl was put to be conveyed away. Eight elephants were then yoked to it, and dragged it with their united strength; but neither were they able to go forward. The king knew that the time for an association between himself and the bowl had not yet arrived,7 and was sad and deeply ashamed of himself. Forthwith he built a tope at the place and a monastery, and left a guard to watch (the bowl), making all sorts of contributions.

There may be there more than seven hundred monks. When it is near midday, they bring out the bowl, and, along with the common people,8 make their various offerings to it, after which they take their midday meal. In the evening, at the time of incense, they bring the bowl out again.9 It may contain rather more than two pecks, and is of various colours, black predominating, with the seams that show its fourfold composition distinctly marked.10 Its thickness is about the fifth of an inch, and it has a bright and glossy lustre. When poor people throw into it a few flowers, it becomes immediately full, while some very rich people, wishing to make offering of many flowers, might not stop till they had thrown in hundreds, thousands, and myriads of bushels, and yet would not be able to fill it.11

Pao-yun and Sang-king here merely made their offerings to the alms-bowl, and (then resolved to) go back. Hwuy-king, Hwuy-tah, and Tao-ching had gone on before the rest to Negara,12 to make their offerings at (the places of) Buddha’s shadow, tooth, and the flat-bone of his skull. (There) Hwuy-king fell ill, and Tao-ching remained to look after him, while Hwuy-tah came alone to Purushapura, and saw the others, and (then) he with Pao-yun and Sang-king took their way back to the land of Ts’in. Hwuy-king13 came to his end14 in the monastery of Buddha’s alms-bowl, and on this Fa-hien went forward alone towards the place of the flat-bone of Buddha’s skull.


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