A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms, by Fa-hsien

Chapter XIX

Sha-Che. Legend of Buddha’s Danta-Kashtha.

Going on from this to the south-east for three yojanas, they came to the great kingdom of Sha-che.1 As you go out of the city of Sha-che by the southern gate, on the east of the road (is the place) where Buddha, after he had chewed his willow branch,2 stuck it in the ground, when it forthwith grew up seven cubits, (at which height it remained) neither increasing nor diminishing. The Brahmans with their contrary doctrines3 became angry and jealous. Sometimes they cut the tree down, sometimes they plucked it up, and cast it to a distance, but it grew again on the same spot as at first. Here also is the place where the four Buddhas walked and sat, and at which a tope was built that is still existing.

1 Sha-che should probably be Sha-khe, making Cunningham’s identification of the name with the present Saket still more likely. The change of {.} into {.} is slight; and, indeed, the Khang-hsi dictionary thinks the two characters should be but one and the same.

2 This was, no doubt, what was called the danta-kashtha, or “dental wood,” mostly a bit of the /ficus Indicus/ or banyan tree, which the monk chews every morning to cleanse his teeth, and for the purpose of health generally. The Chinese, not having the banyan, have used, or at least Fa-hien used, Yang ({.}, the general name for the willow) instead of it.

3 Are two classes of opponents, or only one, intended here, so that we should read “all the unbelievers and Brahmans,” or “heretics and Brahmans?” I think the Brahmans were also “the unbelievers” and “heretics,” having {.} {.}, views and ways outside of, and opposed to, Buddha’s.

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Last updated Friday, March 14, 2014 at 21:53