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them was that one called Ta-chi-tu-lun, " Shastra of the
Method of Great Wisdom." He was one of the most prolific
authors of the Mahay ana school. On this account he be-
came the object of the jealous dislike of the older school
of the Lesser Conveyance.

When drawing near the end of his life, he unexpectedly
fell one day into the trance called the samadhi of the
moon's wheel, in which he only heard words of the
Dharma, but saw no forms. His pupil, Deva, compre-
hended him, and said, " The Buddha nature which you,
my teacher, make known to us, does not consist in sights
and sounds." Lung-shu intrusted to him the care of the
Dharma, and entered a vacant room. As he did not come
out for a day, the pupils broke open the door. He had
gone into a state of samadhi, and died. In all the king-
doms of India, temples were erected for him, and he was
honoured as if he were Buddha.

The fifteenth patriarch was Kanadeva, a native of South


India. The king of his country followed a form of depraved
doctrine. When men were invited to act as guards, Kana-
deva responded to the call, and took his place, spear in
hand, in the front rank, discharging his duties in so regular
and exemplary a manner that the king's attention was
attracted. In reply to the king's inquiries, he said he was
a man who studied wisdom and practised argumentative
oratory. The king opened for him a discussion hall. Here
Kanadeva proposed three theses : (i.) Buddha is the most
excellent of sages ; (2.) No law can compare with the law
of Buddha ; (3.) There is no happiness (or merit) on earth
equal to that of the Buddhist monk. "If any one can
vanquish me in regard to these three theses, I consent to
have my head taken off." In the discussion that ensued,
all the heretics were worsted, and asked permission to
become monks.

A follower of one of the scholars who were vanquished
in argument felt ashamed for his master, was much enraged,
and resolved to kill Kanadeva. He attacked him while
engaged in writing a controversial work, and with his
sword pierced him through. Before life was extinct, the
patriarch said, " You can take my robe and rice bowl, and
go quickly to my disciples and inform them, that if any
among them have not made progress, they should keep
firmly to their purpose without despairing." The pupils
came to see their master with loud lamentation. He
said to them, " All methods and systems are empty. I do
not exist, and cannot be injured. I do not receive love or
hatred from any. What that man has injured is the form
of retribution for my past. It is not I myself." He then
cast off the body, as a cicada does its outer covering.

His disciples collected the relics after his cremation,
erected a dagoba, and paid him the regular honours of

The sixteenth patriarch was Rahulata, a native of Ka-
pila. When a certain Brahman wrote a work of 100,000
Gathas, extremely difficult to explain, Nagarjuna was able


to understand the whole at first hearing, and Kanadeva
at the second hearing. Eahulata was able to comprehend
the whole when he had heard Kanadeva's explanation.
On this, the Brahman said, under the influence of great
astonishment, " The Shramana knows it as clearly as if
he had known it all of old." He then became a believer.

After his destined work of reformation and instruction
was done, Kahulata entered (the word is " took," " seized
on ") the Nirvana.

The seventeenth patriarch, Sanghanandi, of the city
Shravasti, was the son of the king. He could speak as
soon as he was born, and read the books of Buddha when
an infant. At seven years old he formed a dislike to a
worldly life. His parents tried in vain to check him in
resolving to be a monk. Two years later, Eahulata came
to the banks of the Golden- water river and said, pointing
with his finger, " At a distance of five hundred li from this
spot, there is a holy person, named Sanghanandi, who will,
a thousand years after Buddha, succeed him on the throne
of purity." Eahulata led his disciples to see him. He
had just awaked from a trance of twenty-one days, and at
once desired to take the monastic vows. He very soon
understood the principles of Buddha's teaching, and be-
came himself an instructor.

One day Eahulata ascended to the heaven of Brahma
with a golden rice bowl in his hand to obtain rice for a
multitude of believing Buddhists. On a sudden they dis-
liked its taste. Eahulata said, "The fault is not in me.
It is in yourselves." He then desired Sanghanandi to dis-
tribute the food and eat with the others. All wondered.
Eahulata then said, " He is a Buddha of bygone times,
and you also were disciples of the law of Buddha in ages
long past. However, you had not attained to the rank of
Arhan, but only realised the first three fruits of the monastic
life." They replied, " The marvellous power of our teacher
can lead to faith. This Buddha of the past has still secret
doubts." Sanghanandi observed that when Buddha was



living, the earth was at peace and the waters made every-
thing beautiful ; but after his death, when eight hundred
years had passed, men had lost faith. They did not believe
the true form of beauty. They only loved marvellous
powers and deeds that astonish.

He had no sooner ended, than he seized a crystal jar,
and slowly entered the earth. He went with it to the
boundary of the diamond wheel region, and filled it with
the "drink of the immortals" (kan-lu). This he brought
back to the assembly, and placed before them. They all
repented of their thought, and thanked him.

An Arhan, full of all virtue and merit, came there.
Sanghanandi tried his powers by a question. " One bora
of the race of the wheel kings was neither Buddha nor
an Arhan. He was not received by after ages as real,
nor was he a Pratyeka Buddha." The Arhan, unable to
solve this problem, went to the paradises of the Devas,
and asked Maitreya, who replied, " The custom of the
world is to form a lump of clay, and with a wheel make
it into a porcelain image. How can this image compare
with the sages or be continued to later generations ? "

The Arhan came back with this answer. Sanghanandi
replied, " It must have been Maitreya that told you this."

When his destined course was finished, he grasped a
tree with his right hand, and entered the state of destruc-
tion and salvation. The corpse could not be removed by
his disciples on account of its great weight. A large ele-
phant also came to try his strength, but was unable to
move it. The disciples then piled up fragrant wood
against the tree, and performed the process of cremation.
The tree became still more luxuriantly beautiful. A
dagoba was erected, and the relics were worshipped.

The eighteenth patriarch was named Sangkayasheta.
When he heard the bells of a temple ringing on account
of the wind blowing, his teacher asked him, " Is it the
bells that make the sound, or the wind ? " The youth
replied, " It is neither the bells nor the wind, it is my


mind." Walking on the sea-side, he came to a temple and
went into it to beg food, saying, " Hunger is the greatest
evil. Action is the greatest suffering. He who knows the
reality of Dharma that there is in this statement, may
enter the path of Nirvana," He was invited to enter and
supplied with food.

Sangkayasheta saw in the house two hungry ghosts,
naked and chained. :< What is the meaning of this ? " he
asked. His host said, " These ghosts were in a former
life my son-in-law and daughter-in-law. They were angry
because I gave away food in charity, and when I instructed
them they refused to listen. I then took an oath and
said, ' When you suffer the penalty of your sin I will cer-
tainly come and see you.' Accordingly, at the time of
their suffering their retribution, I arrived at a certain
place where monks, at the sound of the bell, had assembled
for food. When the food was nearly all eaten, it changed
to blood, and the monks began to use their bowls and
other utensils employed at meals, in fighting with one
another, and said, ' Why are you saving of food ? The
misery we bear now is a recompense for the past/ I asked
them to tell me what they had done. They replied, that
in the time of Kashiapa Buddha, they had been guilty on
one occasion, when Bikshus came asking food, of conceal-
ing their store and angrily refusing to share it with them.
This was the cause of their present retribution."

Sangkayasheta went on the sea and saw all the five hun-
dred hells. This taught him fear, and the desire to avoid, by
some means, such a fate as to be condemned to live there.

He attained the rank of Arhan, and finding in a wood
five hundred " hermits " (sieri) who were practising ascetic
rules, he converted them to Buddhism by praising Buddha,
the Law, and the Priesthood. When his destined course
was run, he entered the Nirvana, B.C. 13.

In the account of Kumarada, the nineteenth patriarch,
is included an answer he gave to a youth who was puzzled
at the inequality of rewards and punishments in the pre-



sent life. The youth's parents were devout Buddhists,
but in very feeble health. Their neighbour was a butcher,
and enjoyed an immunity from all sickness and pain.
Why should a man whose business it was to take animal
life escape retribution from this sin ?

Kumarada told him that the inequality of men's con-
dition in the present life is mainly on account of sins and
virtuous acts in a former life. Virtue and vice belong to
the present Happiness and misery are the recompense
of the virtue and vice of the past. The virtue and vice of
the present will be rewarded in the future life. Jayata
was charmed with this conversation. His doubts were dissi-
pated. He subsequently became the twentieth patriarch.
Kumarada also said to him, " Activity, in which you have
hitherto believed, comes from doubt, doubt from knowledge,
knowledge from a man's not possessing the perceptive power,
and the absence of perception from the mind's being in a
morbid state. Let your mind be pure and at rest, and with-
out life or death, victory or defeat, action or retribution, and
you will then have attained the same eminence as the Bud-
dhas of the past. All vice and virtue, action and inaction,
are a dream and a delusion." Kumarada died A.D. 23.

The work of the patriarchs was to engage in a perpetual
argument against unbelief. There were differences in loca-
lities. Some parts of India were more favourable to Budd-
hism than others. In the account of the life of Manura,
the " twenty-first " patriarch, in Fo-tsu-t'ung-ki (but
really the twenty-second), it is said that in the two Indias
south of the Ganges, Western and Southern India, there
was great perversity of view. Manura was well skilled
in the analysis of alphabetic sounds, and was recommended
by a learned Buddhist nann-d Yaja, to proceed to Western
suid Southern India to teach Buddhism. Evidently he
would aid in giving alphabets to the Tamil and other lan-
ges, which at that time were first committed to writing.

On the other hand, in Northern, Central, and Eastern
India, all stated to be to the north of the Ganges, the work


of Buddhist teaching is said to be easy. Yaja undertook
to teach in this part of India.

The campaign of Manura is described as a long struggle
with errors and heresies. He specially made use of a book
by the twelfth patriarch called the Sutra of the Not-me.
He found Western India under the control of king Teda,
who one day when travelling passed a small pagoda. His
attendants could not say what was the occasion of its
being erected. He asked the " Brahmans of pure life " (Fan-
king), the " contemplatists " (ch'un-Jcwan), and the "utterers
of charms " (cheu-shu), who formed three classes of the
community of that day. They did not know.

Manura was then asked; who said it was a pagoda
erected by king Ashoka, and which had now come to
light through the good fortune of the king. 1 The king was
much impressed with Manura's teaching, and became a
disciple. He gave over his royal authority to his son, and
himself took vows as a monk. In seven days he advanced to
the fourth grade of the understanding of Buddhist doctrine.

Manura gave the work of reforming the kingdom by
Buddhist teaching into the hands of the king, and went
himself to the kingdom of the Indian Getse, who retreat-
ing westward before the Hiung-nu, B.C. 180 conquered
the Punjab and Cashmere in A.D. 126. Manura taught in
Western India and in Ferghana in the third Christian
century. He is author of the Vibhasha Shastra.

The twenty-third patriarch was Haklena. He was of
the country of the Getae (Candahar). At seven years old
he began to rebuke those people who visited temples to
sacrifice to the gods. He said they were deceivers of the
people, by wrong statements of the causes of calamities
and of happiness. " Besides, you are," he said, " wasting
the lives of innocent cattle, which is a very great evil."
On a sudden the temple and images fell down in ruins.
At thirty-eight years of age he met with Manura, and was

1 "Good fortune," fu-li, "power fortune is always deserved by some

of the king's merit." Fu, "happi- good action done, either in the present

ness," is in a Buddhist sense "merit." or in some former life.
By the law of hidden causation, good

8 4


instructed. Manura told him that formerly five hundred
of his disciples had, on account of small merit, been born
as storks. " These are the flock that are now following
you, wishing to delude you into showing them favour."

Haklena asked him, " How can they be removed ? "
Manura spoke some sentences in the form of G-athas.
" The mind follows the ten thousand forms in their revo-
lutions. At the turning-points of revolution, there really
must be darkness. By following the stream and recog-
nising the true nature, you attain a position where there
is no joy or sorrow."

The birds hearing these words, flew away with loud cries.
This is inserted by the Chinese biographer as an example
of a patriarch's power over the animal creation.

Haklena went to Central India. While he was teaching
in the presence of a Rajah, two men appeared dressed in
dark red mantles and white togas. They came to worship,
and stayed a long time. Suddenly they went away. The
Rajah asked, " Who are they ? " Haklena replied, " They
are the sons of the Devas of the sun and moon."

His most promising disciple was Singhalaputra (Lion
son; in Chinese, Sh^i-ts'i), who had formerly believed in
Brahmanism, and abandoned it in favour of the Buddhist
faith. He asked Haklena, " To what must I give my chief
attention if I would attain the true knowledge of things ?"
" Do nothing," was the reply. " If you do anything there
is no merit in it. By doing nothing, you will comply with
the system of Buddha." Haklena died A.D. 209 (Chinese

The twenty-fourth patriarch was Singhalaputra, a
native of Central India. He went to Candahar (Ki-piri),
and there brought over very many persons to Buddhism.
Some heretics were guilty of gross crimes, and took the
name of Buddhists. The king became angry against
Buddhism, and cut off the head of the patriarch.

On account of this unhappy fate of the patriarch, the
succession, according to some authors, was broken off at
this point. Another reason for terminating the list of


patriarchs here, is said, by the author of Fo-tsu-Vung-ki,
to have been that the remaining patriarchs were not fore-
told by Buddha by name, and did not equal in gifts
and honour those that preceded.

The contemplative school, or school of Bodhidharma,
however, have retained the twenty-eight names, and re-
cognise no superiority in the twenty-four universally
acknowledged patriarchs over the remaining four. For
many centuries there was an active discussion on the
claims of the last four and the Chinese patriarchs to the
honour of the name. Chi-p'an, writing in A.D. 1269, at
Ningpo, decides against them. Some of the friends who
reviewed his work, and whose names are given, belonged
to the contemplative school. The difference of views
would not therefore be an unfriendly one.

The twenty-fifth patriarch, according to the contem-
plative school, was Basiasita. He was a Brahman, and
a native of Candahar. He travelled into Central and
Southern India, and died A.D. 328.

Putnomita was the next (twenty- sixth) that received the
cloak and secret symbols of the patriarchs. He was a
Kshatrya of Southern India. He visited Eastern India,
where he found the king under the influence of heretical
doctrine, and converted him. He died in A.D. 388.

His successor, the twenty-seventh patriarch, was Pradj-
natara, a native of Central India, who travelled to the
southern part of the peninsula, and there took under his
instructions Bodhidharma, the second son of the king.
He died A.D. 457, and left as his successor the pupil just
mentioned, who, he foretold, would visit China sixty-nine
years afterwards. Bodhidharma asked him, when under
instruction, what he had to say about precious things,
pearls, and doctrines, which are round and bright. The
patriarch answered, " Among all precious things the
Buddhist Dharma is the most precious. Among all bright
things, knowledge is the brightest. Among all clear
things, a clear mind is the clearest. Amonir all things,


other men and I are the highest. Among all things, the
" essential nature " (sing) of Dharma is the greatest."

Bodhidharma was the twenty-eighth patriarch. He
represents a school that despises books and reduces Bud-
dhist teaching to the simplest possible principles. He
was an ascetic of the first water.

In A.D. 526, Bodhidharma left Southern India for China
by sea. The sixty-nine years that passed between the
death of his predecessor and his departure from India
formed the basis of the prediction above mentioned, con-
structed we must suppose after the event. The cause of
his departure was probably persecution and disaster. He
was a sectarian even in Buddhism, and possibly his ene-
mies were not only the Brahrnans, but also fellow-
Buddhists. The reading of books was the life and soul
of many monasteries. Bodhidharma decried book reading.
His system made the monasteries much less educational
and much more mystical and meditative than before.
Lovers of knowledge among the Buddhists would dislike
his system. This would be the case in China and in India.
In China the dogmatic reason given for not acknowledg-
ing the last four patriarchs was that, in the " Dharmapitaka
Sutra," Buddha had said, " After my entering the Nirvana,
there will be twenty-four honourable teachers, who will ap-
pear in the world and teach my law " (Fo-tsu-t'ung-ki, v. i).
After this what could be done but take the statement
as a final answer to the inquiry, How many patriarchs
could there be ?

Bodhidharma wished to return to India, but died in
China before accomplishing this purpose.

The " Getse " (Jats) mentioned in the account of Haklena
are called Yue-ti by the Chinese. In the Cyclopaedia Fa-
yuen-chu-lin, it is said that the great kingdoms to the east,
north, and west of India, are China, the Getae, and the
" Koinan empire," Ta-ts'in. By the kingdom of the Getas
the Chinese author meant some great empire between Koine
and China. This is a statement drawn from Indian sources.



The emperor Ming-ti sends an embassy to India for images, A.D. 61
K a.4iiapmadanga nrrives in China Spread of Buddhism in
A.D. 335 Buddojanga A pagoda at Nanking, A.D. 381 The
translator Kumarajiva, A.D. 405 The Chinese traveller, Fa-
hien visits India His hook Persecution, A.D. 426 Buddhism
prosperous, 451 Indian embassies to China in the Sung dynasty
Opposition of the Confucianists to Buddhism Discussions on
doctrine Buddhist prosperity in the Northern Wei kingdom
and the Liang kingdom Bodhidhanna Suug-yiin sent to
India Bodhidharma leaves Liang Wu-ti and goes to Northern
China His latter years and death Embassies from Buddhist
countries in the south Relics The Liang emperor Wu-ti
becomes a monk Embassies from India and Ceylon Influence
of Sanscrit writing in giving the Chinese the knowledge of an
alphabet Syllabic spelling Confucian opposition to Buddhism
in the T'ang dynasty The five successors of Bodhidharma
Hiuen-tsaug's travels in India Work as a translator Persecu-
tion, A.D. 714 Hindoo calendar in China Amogha introduces
the festival for hungry ghosts Opposition of Han Yii to Bud-
dhism Persecution of 845 Teaching of Matsu Triumph of
the Mahayana Budhiruchi Persecution by the Cheu dynasty
Extensive erection of pagodas in the Sung dynasty Encourage-
ment of Sanscrit studies Places of pilgrimage P'uto Regula-
tions for receiving the vows Hindoo Buddhists in China in
the Sung dynasty The Mongol dynasty favoured Buddhism
The last Chinese Buddhist who visited India The Ming dynasty
limits the right of accumulating land Roman Catholic contro-
versy with Buddhists Kang-hi of the Manchu dynasty opposes
Buddhism The literati still condemn Buddhism.

IT was in the year A.D. 61, that the Chinese emperor
Ming-ti, in consequence of a dream, in which he saw the
image of a foreign god, sent messengers to India, a country


several thousand miles to the south-east of the capital,
to ask for Buddhist books and teachers. 1 A native of
Central India named Kashiapmadanga, with others, accom-
panied them back. He translated a small but important
Sutra, called the Sutra of Forty-two Sections, and died at
Lo-yang. The religion had now long been established in
N"epaul and Independent Tartary, as the travels of the
patriarchs indicate. It had also extended itself through-
out India and Ceylon, and the persecution of the Brahmans,
instigated partly by controversial feeling, and more by a
desire to increase their caste influence, had not yet com-
menced. Long before this, it is stated that in B.C. 217,
Indians had arrived at the capital of China in Shen-si, in
order to propagate their religion. Remusat, after mention-
ing this in the Foe kouZ hi, adds that, towards the year
B.C. 122, a warlike expedition of the Chinese led them to
Hieou-thou, a country beyond Yarkand. Here a golden
statue was taken, and brought to the emperor. The
Chinese author states that this was the origin of the
statues of Buddha that were afterwards in use.

At this period the geographical knowledge of the Chinese
rapidly increased. The name of India now occurs for the
first time in their annals. In the year B.C. 122 Chang
K'ien, a Chinese ambassador, returned from the country
of the Getae, and informed the Han emperor Wu-ti, of the
kingdoms and customs existing in the west. Among other
things, he said, " When I was in the country of the Dahae, 2
12,000 Chinese miles distant to the south-west, I saw
bamboo staves from K'iung and cloth from Si'-ch'uen. On
asking whence they came, I was told that they were
articles of traffic at Shin-do (' Scinde/ a country far to

1 He had thu dream in A.D. 61. the twelfth month they saw the eua-

Eighteen men were sent. They wont peror.

to the country of the Getae, bor- '-' TVAw, in ,.1,1 Chinese Dai-he. It

dering on Tmlia. and there they met was 207 years earlier that the Dahne

the two r.iahmans. They came ri<l- and Getae were defeated in battle hy

ing on white horses, with pictures. Alexander. Dahistan borders on the

images, and bookn ; and arrival Caspian, forming the south-east coast

in A.D. 67. On the thirtieth day of of tiiiii


the south-east of the Dahae)." It is added in the com-
mentary to the T'ung-kien-Jcang-mnh, that the name is
also pronounced, Kan-do and Tin-do, and that it is the
country of the barbarians called Buddha.

Early in the fourth century, native Chinese began to take
the Buddhist monastic vows. Their history says, under
the year 335, that the prince of the Ch'au kingdom in the
time of the Eastern Ts'in dynasty, permitted his subjects
to do so. He was influenced by an Indian named Buddo-
janga, 1 who pretended to magical powers. Before this,
natives of India had been allowed to build temples in
the large cities, but it was now for the first time that the
people of the country were suffered to become " Shamen " 2
(Shramanas), or disciples of Buddha. The first translations
of the Buddhist books had been already made, for we
read that at the close of the second century, an Indian

Online LibraryJoseph EdkinsChinese Buddhism → online text (page 9 of 39)