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A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms: Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hsien of his Travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline
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A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms: Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hsien of his Travels in India and Ceylon (A.D. 399-414) in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline

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3.45  ·  Rating details ·  64 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
This country originally had no human inhabitants, but was occupied only by spirits and nâgas, with which merchants of various countries carried on a trade.... Through the coming and going of merchants... when they went away, the people of their various countries heard how pleasant the land was, and flocked to it in numbers till it became a great nation. -from "Chapter XXXV ...more
Paperback, 123 pages
Published December 31st 1991 by Dover Publications (first published February 15th 1886)
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Steve


The Governor of Tun-huang, by name Li Hao, gave them all the necessaries for crossing the desert of Gobi. In this desert there are a great many evil spirits and also hot winds; those who encounter them perish to a man. There are neither birds above nor beasts below. Gazing on all sides as far as the eye can reach in order to mark the track, no guidance is to be obtained save from the rotting bones of dead men, which point the way.


In the year 399 Fa-hsien (Faxian, 337 – c. 422) walked with some
...more
Hadrian

"法显西行"
Nick
Wish it was longer. Though there were a lot of writings in this genre, (even from Koreans) and there are other and documents which it refers to which might be available. It gives a good general view of what India was like in the 400s. Buddhism was backsliding into Hinduism in both the Madhyadesh and Gandhara, though it was stronger in the east and in Lanka. Java was rife with Hinduism. Untouchability was already in existence, and seemingly quite extreme. Not many kingdoms in Bengal apparently, b ...more
TheAgeofKite
It goes long into the ritual and habits of the Buddhists along his travels, I couldn't help but think of Skinner's pigeon while reading it. However it is rich in detail and quite interesting in bits and it was interesting to see the way humans perceived the world around them in that slice of time.
Lynn
I was glad read this history of this monk who traveled to India and Ceylon to learn more about Buddhism. I did find it confusing and in nature of literature of its day, it is mostly a short travelogue of his trip. A very worthy piece of history but enough detail for me as a modern reader.
Jan Pospíšil
For an otherwise practical and effective travel autobiography, there are surprisingly many dragons. Which is not a bad thing!
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Monastic name is Fǎxiǎn
Name is also spelled as Fâ-hien, fa-xian, Faxian, Faoxian, Fsian, Fasian, etc, due to various translations.

This spelling is the most common romanized version as well as the LCOC canonical version of his name.
More about Faxian...

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“There are four places of regular and fixed occurrence (in the history of) all Buddhas:--first, the place where they attained to perfect Wisdom (and became Buddha); second, the place where they turned the wheel of the Law;(20) third, the place where they preached the Law, discoursed of righteousness, and discomfited (the advocates of) erroneous doctrines; and fourth, the place where they came down, after going up to the Trayatrimsas heaven to preach the Law for the benefit of their mothers.” 0 likes
“Fifty le east from the city was a garden, named Lumbini,(17) where the queen entered the pond and bathed. Having come forth from the pond on the northern bank, after (walking) twenty paces, she lifted up her hand, laid hold of a branch of a tree, and, with her face to the east, gave birth to the heir-apparent.(18) When he fell to the ground, he (immediately) walked seven paces.” 0 likes
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