Chinese Buddhism, by Joseph Edkins, , at sacred-texts.com
Features of Asiatic life in the time of the patriarchs—Character, powers, and intellectual qualities of the patriarchs—Series of thirty-three patriarchs—Appointment of Kashiapa by Shakyamuni—The Svastika council of Rajagriha, for writing out the books of Buddha, and settling what should be received as canonical—The part taken by Ananda in the authorship of the Buddhist books—Ananda, second patriarch—The third was Shangnavasu—Remarks on samadhi and reverie—Fourth, Upagupta—Conversion of a wicked woman when dying—Fifth, sixth, and seventh patriarchs—Buddha's prophecy regarding Buddhanandi, the seventh—Struggle between filial love and Buddhist conviction in Buddhamitra—The way in which he subdued an unbelieving king—Maming given to the king of the Getæ to induce him to raise the siege of Pataliputra—Kapimara, the thirteenth—Nagarjuna, the fourteenth—Converts ten thousand Brahmans—Writes the Ta-chï-tu-lun—Vigorous defence of Buddhism by Kanadeva—Assassination of Kanadeva—Sanghanandi, precocious as a boy—Prophecy respecting him—Rahulata ascends to heaven—Sangkayasheta's discussion on the nature of sound—Converts five hundred hermits—Kumarada's views on the inequality of present retribution—Difficulties met with by Manura in teaching Buddhism in Southern and Western India—A patriarch's power over birds—Haklena converts Singhalaputra, who succeeded him as patriarch (the twenty-fourth), but was killed by the king of Candahar—The orthodox school has only twenty-four patriarchs—The contemplative school has twenty-eight—Pradjnyatara, the twenty-seventh converts Bodhidharma, the twenty-eighth, who proceeds to China—Hindoo knowledge of the Roman empire.
WE are now in the midst of the Asiatic world of two thousand and sixteen hundred years ago. In India, in Afghanistan, and
in Turkestan, Buddhist priests had entered actively on that pilgrim life to which monasticism inevitably gives origin. With the object either of instructing, or of worshipping at some celebrated shrine, travellers were constantly seen on each foot-worn mountain path proceeding to some distant monastery. Such scenes as the following, illustrating the beliefs of the time and locality, would not seldom occur. A wayfarer in the country of the Getæ (Jats) (Afghanistan) knocks at the door of a Brahman family. A young man within answers, "There is no one in this house." The traveller was too well taught in Buddhism not to know the meaning of this philosophical nihilism, and at once answered, "Who is no one?" The young man, when he heard this, felt that he was understood. A kindred spirit was outside. Hurriedly he opened the door, and invited the stranger to enter. The visitor was the patriarch of the time (seventeenth), with staff and rice bowl, travelling to teach and make new disciples. On his entrance, he at once proceeded to utter a statement that this young man was the object of a long foretold destiny. A thousand years after Buddha's death, a distinguished teacher would appear in the country of the Getæ, who would reform his contemporaries, and follow up the work of illustrious predecessors. This meant that he was to become patriarch. He is eighteenth in the series.
A patriarch is represented as one who does not look at evil and dislike it; nor does he, when he sees that which is good, make a strong effort to attain it. He does not put wisdom aside and approach folly; nor does he fling away delusion and aim at comprehending truth. Yet he has an acquaintance with great truths which is beyond being measured, and he penetrates into Buddha's mind to a depth that cannot be fathomed. His lodging is not with the sage, nor with the common class. Because he is above every one else in his attainments, he is called a patriarch.
A patriarch has magical powers. He can fly through
the air, cross rivers on a boat of leaves, rain milk 1 at will from the air, and enter into a very great variety of trances or samadhi.
A patriarch has the keenest intellectual perception. He can dive into men's thoughts, and explain the meaning of the longest and most obscure compositions. The superiority of his mental faculties to those of common men is most marked. He can accomplish intellectual feats where others fail. Possessed of such gifts and qualifications as these, a patriarch is the chief defender of Buddhism against the heretics and opposers of his time. Selected by the last patriarch from the crowd of common disciples, he takes the chief place ever after as champion of the Buddhist law and discipline. He cares nothing for luxurious living or social rank. He lives poorly, is meanly clad, and keeps up the dignity of his position by the influence of mind, of character, and of supernatural acts.
The succession was broken at the fifth Chinese patriarch, and has never been restored.
The rank of patriarch could be the more easily discontinued because he had no ruling power. He was simply a defender, teacher, and example of the Buddhist doctrine and life.
The following paragraphs are taken from papers I wrote many years ago.
After the death of Shakyamuni, or, to speak honorifically, his entrance into the Nirvâna at Kushinagara, a series of thirty-three patriarchs, if we include five Chinese holders of the dignity, superintended in succession the affairs of the religious community he had founded. Remusat has given an abstract of the biography of the patriarchs taken from a Japanese encyclopædia. He says, Buddha, before his death, committed the secret of his mysteries to his disciple, Maha Kashiapa. He was a Brahman, born in the
kingdom Magadha, in Central India. To him was intrusted the deposit of esoteric doctrine, called Cheng fa-yen-tsang, "the pure secret of the eye of right doctrine." The symbol of this esoteric principle, communicated orally without books, is man or wan. This, in Chinese, means "10,000," and implies the possession of 10,000 perfections. It is usually placed on the heart of Buddha in images and pictures of that divinity. It is sometimes called sin-yin, "heart's seal." It contains within it the whole mind of Buddha. In Sanscrit it is called svastika. It was the monogram of Vishnu and Shiva, the battle-axe of Thor in Scandinavian inscriptions, an ornament on the crowns of the Bonpa deities in Thibet, and a favourite symbol with the Peruvians.
The appointment of Kashiapa to be successor of Buddha and patriarch is described in the following manner:—"The World-honoured teacher ascended the platform from which he gave his instructions, holding in his hand a flower, the gift of a king. His disciples were all regardless of his teaching. Only Kashiapa showed attention and pleasure in his countenance. Buddha understood what was passing in his mind, and gave him the pure mystery of right doctrine, the secret heart of the Nirvâna, that true knowledge of existing things which consists in knowing them not to exist, and the method of enlightenment and reformation."
Kashiapa distinguished himself by severely ascetic practices. Buddha knew his excellence, and wished him to sit on the same seat with himself, as being not inferior in merit. But to this he would not consent. He also easily comprehended the ideas of Buddha. Buddha, on one occasion, used the following illustration:—"A notable man's house took fire. He brought goat-carts, drawn by goats, deer, and bullocks, to rescue his sons. He afterwards gave them a lofty, broad waggon, drawn by white bullocks. The first are the methods of Hinayana. The last is that of Mahayana." Kashiapa understood that
[paragraph continues] Buddha, when he thus alluded to the various modes of teaching employed by him to save men, wished to point out that the Mahayana is superior to the others in capacity, adaptability, and utility.
He taught at Rajagriha after the Nirvâna. The king, Ajatashatru, supplied daily with food for a whole summer a thousand Arhans, who were engaged under Kashiapa in collecting the book s containing the sayings of Buddha, i.e., the Tripitaka. This is what is called by Koeppen the First Buddhist council.
Kashiapa taught after this for twenty years, and then intrusted to Ananda the secret of pure doctrine. After this we hear of his proceeding to the four places of pilgrimage to worship. These were—the place of Shakyamuni leaving his home to become a recluse, the place of his becoming Buddha, of first preaching, and of entering the Nirvâna.
The second patriarch, Ananda, figures in many narratives as the constant attendant and disciple of Buddha. In temples he is represented as the corresponding figure to the old man Kashiapa, where he stands on Buddha's right hand. He was the second son of Shakyamuni's uncle, and was therefore first cousin of the sage. His name means "joy." His face was like the full moon, and his eyes like the lotus flower. He became a disciple at eight years old.
At the assembly of the Lotus of the Good Law, Buddha foretold of Ananda that he would ultimately become Buddha. This was to be a reward for his joy at hearing the law, and his diligent listening to it. Buddha obtained knowledge and taught the law. The Bodhi was perceived; and the Dharma became its embodiment. The part of Ananda was to grasp, hold firmly, and save from destruction the Dharma as uttered by Buddha. In so doing he also saved from oblivion the Dharma which will be uttered by coming Buddhas, as foretold by Shakyamuni.
Kashiapa appointed that Ananda should sit on the lion
throne, with a thousand secretaries before him. They took down his words while he repeated the Dharma as he had heard it from Buddha. Evidently he had a good memory. Kashiapa was an old man, and Ananda was comparatively young. Both were alike anxious to preserve the teaching of Buddha; and the thousand Arhans, who received the sacred Dharma, were selected from a vast multitude of those who had accepted Buddha as the lion of the law, the mighty hero of the new and popular religion.
It is not said that they wrote. They may have committed to memory the sacred Dharma as Ananda gave it, but writing became the common mode of preserving Buddhist teaching so soon after, that this narrative may describe actual dictation and the work of a diligent secretariat, or company of disciples, who acted as scribes.
The aged patriarch, Kashiapa, when he died, intrusted to Ananda the very victorious law, and told him the following story, which throws light on ancient Buddhism as represented by the Northern school. "Anciently, when Ting-kwang Fo was a 'Shamen' (Shramana), he had under his protection a 'Shami' (Shramanera) whom he required to recite prayers and meditations constantly, reproving him severely if he failed in reading the whole of his tasks. The Shami sometimes went out to beg for his instructor; but if he delayed beyond the due time, and did not complete his daily readings, he had to bear heavy blame from that very instructor for whom he begged. This led him to feel unhappy, and he commenced reciting on the road as he went his rounds. A kind and friendly man asked him the reason, and finding how matters stood, addressed him as follows:—'Do not be sad. In future I will provide for your wants.' The Shami ceased to beg, and gave his whole attention to recitations of the sacred books, and was never deficient in the number of pages read. This Shami afterwards became Shakyamuni Buddha. His kind friend became Ananda in a later birth, and his sagacity, his power of
retention, and diligence in learning resulted from his meritorious treatment of the Shami."
The third patriarch was Shangnavasu of Rajagriha. In a former life he had been a merchant. On the road, as he travelled, he had met a Pratyeka Buddha, very sick, and poorly clad. He gave him medicine, and clothing of a beautiful grass-cloth. 1
This is what, by Buddhists, is called sowing the "field of happiness" (fu-t‘ien). Other ways of acting so as to reap happiness are improving roads, building bridges, respect to parents, care of the poor, and opening common wells.
The Pratyeka Buddha said, "This is called the Shangna robe. With it the acquirement of wisdom can be made, and with it the Nirvâna of destruction should be entered." He then took wing, performed the eighteen movements in the air, and entered the Nirvâna.
Shangnavasu collected fragrant wood, burned the body, and raised a dagoba over the relics. He also, as he wept, uttered a wish that in five hundred future births he might always wear a robe of this kind, and have a merit equal to that of his present life.
He went to sea, obtained valuable pearls, and became a rich man. He then invited large numbers to a free feasting assembly in a forest, such as was held once in three years. He built a tower at the entrance of the place of meeting. Ananda said to him, "You should learn our doctrine, and live to benefit mankind." To this he consented. He took the vows and became an Arhan.
Going away to the Manda mountain, he there by means of the samadhi of mercy, changed two poisonous young Nagas into beings having a good disposition.
Samadhi means ecstatic reverie, and as there is some uncertainty as to its nature in some writers on Buddhism,
it may be well to draw attention to this instance of snake-charming. It means a mesmerising power, a fixing of the mind and eye which has an effect on the snake. To fix the faculties in Buddhist contemplation is to enter into san-mei or samadhi. Those phenomena which we call trance, brown study, reverie, are examples of an inactive samadhi. The addition of an effort of will makes an active samadhi, as that used in snake charming by Buddhists, and as that of mesmerists.
He founded a house to be used by monks as a contemplation hall at the spot, and perhaps the snakes he tamed may have been kept there in a box, as is sometimes done now in China. But the account does not say.
He went thence to Candahar, at that time called Kipin, and there propagated the doctrines of Buddhism about eighty years before the conquests of Alexander. He lived in the Siang- (elephant) pe (white) mountain, sat on his chair, and entered into a trance. While this was happening, Upagupta, his successor, was being much troubled with five hundred pupils, who were self-opinionated and proud. He felt that they were beyond his power to guide and elevate. There was not existing between him and them the "secret link of influence" (yuen, "cause." Sansc. nidana) that would have overcome this difficulty. This conviction he acquired in a samadhi, and learned or rather thought at the same time, while still in the ecstatic state, that only Shangnavasu could reform them. The samadhi here appears to be an elevated state of inspiration. But it has also a magical power. The next point in the narrative is the arrival of Shangnavasu himself flying through the air. He was habited most shabbily, and when he sat down on Upagupta's chair, the pupils stared angrily at him for daring to do this. But Upagupta came before him and bowed to him most respectfully. Shangnavasu pointed to the air, and fragrant milk fell as if from a spring on the side of a high mountain.
This was the result of a samadhi, which the patriarch said was the samadhi of a Naga rushing eagerly forward.
[paragraph continues] He then exhibited five hundred different kinds of samadhi. At the same time he observed to Upagupta, that when Buddha performed any magical act by samadhi, his pupil Maudgalyayana did not know what samadhi it was. Nor did inferior disciples know the name of any samadhi by help of which Maudgalyayana might do anything wonderful. "Nor do I," he said, "understand that of Ananda. Nor do you understand mine."
"When I enter the Nirvâna," he continued, "77,000 Sutras will perish with me; also 10,000 Shastras and 80,000 works of the class of discipline."
After this the five hundred pupils bitterly repented, received the patriarch's instructions, and became Arhans. Upon this the patriarch entered into the Nirvâna.
Upagupta, the fourth patriarch, was a native of the Madura country. He had a noble countenance which indicated his integrity, and was highly intelligent and eloquent. His instructor, Shangnavasu, the third patriarch, told him to keep black and white pebbles. When he had a bad thought he was to throw down into a basket a black pebble; when he had a good thought he was to throw down a white pebble. Upagupta did as he was told. At first bad thoughts abounded, and black pebbles were very numerous. Then the white and black were about equal. On the seventh day there were only white pebbles. Shangnavasu then undertook to expound to him the four truths. He at once attained the fruit "Srôtâpanna" (Sü-t’o-hwan).
At that time a woman of wicked life in the same city with Upagupta, hearing of his upright conduct, sent messengers to invite him to go and see her. He refused. The son of a citizen in good repute at about the same time went to stay with her. This youth she slew, because a rich traveller came with presents of valuable precious stones and pearls, which he offered for her acceptance. She buried the youth in a court of her house. His relations came to seek him and dug up the body. The king, informed of what had occurred, ordered the woman to have her arms and legs cut off, and also her nose and ears. She
was then thrown out among graves in the open ground beyond the city. When Upagupta went out on his begging round he arrived at the spot. She said to him, "When I invited you to come and see me I had a beautiful face, but you refused. Now that I am maimed, my beauty gone, and my death near, you have come to see me. Why is this?" He replied, "I have come to see you from a wish to know what you truly are, and not through evil desire. You have by your beauty corrupted and ruined many. You were like a painted vase always giving out evil odours. It was no pleasure to the truly enlightened to approach you. They knew that this beauty would not be permanent. Now all miseries have gathered on you like numberless boils and ulcers. You ought diligently to seek liberation by means which are in your power." The woman as she listened opened the eye of Dharma, and obtained the purification of her heart. At death she was born anew in paradise.
Upagupta, when still a youth, saw that all the common methods of redemption were marked by bitterness, emptiness, and non-permanence, and at once attained the fruit Anagamin, the third degree of saintship, or that from which there is "no" (ana) "return" (gamin). He was then seventeen. Shangnavasu at once received him to the vows on his application, and he became an Allan.
He was contemporary during the later years of his patriarchate with king Ashôka, who, hearing that he was on Mount Uda discoursing to a large audience of believers, sent messengers to him, inviting him to come to the city where the king was, and bless him, by touching him on the crown of the head. The king much desired to learn at what spots he should erect pagodas in honour of Buddha. To this the patriarch responded, by pointing out to him all the places where Buddha had done anything remarkable during his life.
The number of converts was immense. Each of them threw down a tally four inches long. The tallies filled a storehouse which was sixteen feet high. Upagupta became,
in virtue and wisdom, almost a Buddha, lacking, however, the thirty-two points of characteristic beauty. When he had finished his journeys for reforming others, and the "accomplishment of destiny in meetings with them" (hwa-yuen-yi-pi, "renovating destiny already ended"), he performed the eighteen metamorphoses, and seized on the salvation that consists in destruction, i.e., he died. The tallies in the house were used as offerings, yajun (yajur), to burn. The people all wept aloud, collected the "relics" (sharira), erected a t‘a (stupa), and performed regular worship before it.
In this example of the saint worship of Buddhism may be observed the upgrowth of superstitious practices. It aptly illustrates the way in which the religious principle in man works outward. Buddha, a sort of human god, was first worshipped. Other highly venerated men of a secondary type were in succession added, and became the inferior gods of a new pantheon.
Drikata, the fifth patriarch, was given by his father to Upagupta as a disciple, to be in constant attendance on him as Ananda was upon Shakyamuni. Upagupta received him to the vows at twenty years old. It was in this way. Upagupta was on a religious journey. He came to the door of an elderly man, who asked him, "Why do you, a holy sage, travel unattended?" He replied, "I have left the world, and am without family ties. No one has given me an attendant disciple. It may be you who will bestow this kindness." The elderly man replied, "If I have a son I will respectfully offer him to you." He afterwards had a son whom he named Drikata, who devoted himself in youth to the study of the Sutras and other books, and then went in search of Upagupta.
When Upagupta was old, he said to Drikata, "My time for entering the Nirvâna is come. The Dharma which I have taught I intrust to you. It will be your duty to teach it in regions far and near." This he did in Central India, and when he died (seized on the Nirvâna) Devas and men were sad.
Michaka was the sixth patriarch. When he met first with Drikata, he said to him, "I was formerly born with you in the heaven of Brahma. I met with Asita, 1 who taught me the doctrine of the Rishis. You met with good and wise teachers who instructed you in the principles of Buddhism. So your path differed from mine for a period of six kalpas. The record of the Rishis said, 'After six kalpas you shall meet with a fellow learner. Through him you shall obtain the holy fruit.' To-day, in meeting with you, is it not the fulfilment of destiny?"
Drikata then instructed him in Dharma, and he made eminent attainments. The Rishis, his companions, did not believe, until Drikata performed before them various magical transformations, when they all believed and obtained the fruit of doctrine. When Drikata died, Michaka took his place in renovating mankind by teaching the Nirvâna.
The seventh (should be eighth) patriarch was Buddhanandi, a native of Northern India. When Michaka came to his country, Buddhanandi saw on the city battlements a golden-coloured cloud. He thought that there must be a sage beneath the cloud, who would transmit the Dharma. He went to search, and found Buddhanandi in the street leading to the market-place. Michaka said, "Formerly Buddha, when travelling in Northern India, said to Ananda, 'Three hundred years after my death there will be a sage named Buddhanandi. He will make the Dharma great in this region.'" Buddhanandi replied, "I remember that in a former kalpa I presented to Buddha a throne. It was on this account that he made reference to me, and foretold that I should in the 'kalpa of the sages' (Bhadrakalpa) spread the Dharma far and wide. Since this agrees exactly with what you have said, I wish to become a disciple." He at once obtained the four fruits of enlightenment.
The ninth patriarch, Buddhamitra, was found by his
predecessor in the patriarchate in the following manner. Buddhanandi came to his country to teach. Seeing a white light over a house, he said to his disciples, "There is a sage here, who has a mouth, but does not speak, and has feet, but does not walk." He went to the door, and was asked by an old man why he came. The answer was, "In search of a disciple." The old man replied, "I have a son just fifty. He neither speaks nor walks." "That," said Buddhanandi, "is my disciple."
Buddhamitra rose, made obeisance, walked seven steps, and then pronounced the following Gatha:—"If my father and mother are not my nearest of kin, who is so? If the Buddhas are not my teachers, who are my teachers?" Buddhanandi replied, "You speak of your nearest relative being the heart. To this your love for your parents is not comparable. Your acting in accordance with 'doctrine' (tau) is the mind of the Buddhas. The Buddha of the wai tau (heretical teachers) belongs to the world of forms. Their Buddha and you are not alike. You should know that your real mind is neither closely attached nor separated." He further said to the father:—"Your son formerly met with Buddha, and, stimulated by compassion, had great longings to benefit others. But because he has thought too much of his father's and mother's love, who could not let him go, he has not spoken nor walked." The aged father hearing this, at once let him leave the family to become a monk.
When Michaka (in Eitel, Mikkaka; in San-kiau-yi-su, Misuchaka) was about to die, he intrusted to Buddhanandi the correct Dharma to teach to mankind.
Such is the statement of Chï-p‘an of the Kiau-men in Fo-tsu-t‘ung-ki. He rejects Vasumitra, the seventh patriarch of the contemplatist school. He does not even mention Vasumitra, who yet was very distinguished. He took a chief part in the last revision of the canon, as president of the third or fourth synod, under Kanishka, Rajah of Cashmere, B.C. 153. To this, Eitel adds, that he must
have died soon after, though Chinese chronology places his death in B.C. 590.
The Kiau-men writers apparently say little about the synods or councils, perhaps because they were presided over by the patriarchs, who favoured the contemplatist school. Can this be the reason that Chï-p‘an has neglected the seventh patriarch and caused Michaka to nominate Buddhanandi (the eighth) as his successor, making him the seventh?
From this point I prefer to follow San-kiau-yi-su and Eitel in numbering the patriarchs, while continuing to take the story of their lives from the interesting pages of Fo-tsu-t‘ung-ki, because the author is full of anecdote.
Chi-p‘an, to fill the vacancy caused by the omission of Vasumitra, mentions Madhyantika, a disciple of Ananda, who converted Cashmere. He was contemporary with Shangnavasu. Buddhamitra passed at once through the steps of enlightenment, and began to teach the correct Dharma.
There was a king then reigning who followed another school, and wished to destroy the influence of Buddhism, a religion which he despised. Buddhamitra, wishing to bring this king to submission, took a red flag in his hand, and carried it before the king for twelve years. The king at last asked who this man was. Buddhamitra replied, "I am a man of knowledge, who can discuss religion." The king ordered an assembly of Brahmans to meet him in a large hall, and discuss religion with him. Buddhamitra took his seat, and delivered a discourse. A man weak in knowledge was pitted against him, whose reasonings he at once subverted. The rest declined to argue. The king then entered himself into argument with him, but soon gave way, and announced his intention to follow the Buddhist religion.
In the same kingdom was a "Nirgrantha" (Nikan), who reviled Buddhism, and was an expert calculator. Nirgrantha means a devotee who has cut the ties of food and clothing,
and can live without feeling hungry or cold. It is from grantha, "tie." Buddhamitra went to him and received information in regard to his calculations. The Nirgrantha spared no abuse in speaking of Buddha. The Buddhist then said, "You are now working 1 out punishment to yourself, and will fall into hell. If you do not believe what I say, try your calculations, and you will find whether it is so or not." The heretic calculated, and found that it was so. He then said to the Buddhist teacher, "How can I avoid this calamity?"
The reply was, "You should become a believer in Buddha. You may then have this demerit annulled." Nirgrantha (or the Nirgrantha) upon this, pronounced five hundred sentences in praise of Buddha, and repented of his former faults.
Buddhamitra then said, "Having performed these meritorious actions, you will certainly be born in one of the heavenly paradises. If you doubt this, make the calculations, that you may know it to be so." He did this, and found that his demerit was gone, and that he would be born in heaven. He and five hundred of his followers joyfully enrolled themselves as Buddhist monks, shaved their locks, and placed themselves under the protection of the Three Precious Things.
The tenth patriarch was Parshva, and the eleventh Punayaja. Parshva came to the city of "Pataliputra" (Chinese, Hwa-shï), and rested under a tree. He pointed to the ground and said, "If this earth should change to a golden colour, a sage must be here." As soon as he had said this, the ground changed its colour, and immediately Punayaja arrived. He was received to the vows by Parshva, and became his successor.
The twelfth patriarch was Ashwagosha, or Maming, "a horse neighing." In the city of Pataliputra, five hundred youths of princely families became at one time converts
to his doctrine, and took the tonsure. The king feared that his kingdom would become depopulated, and issued an order that there should be no more chanting. This decree was levelled against the use of some very popular and sweet music introduced by Maming. The music must have excited great attention, and must have had its effect in leading many persons to resolve on leading the Buddhist life. This would lead to diminution in population. The country would become poorer. There would be fewer workers, fewer tax-payers, fewer soldiers, and fewer traders.
At this juncture the king of the Getæ (Indo-Scythians) besieged Pataliputra. There were 900,000 men in the city, and the besieging king required 900,000 pieces of gold as a ransom. The king of Pataliputra gave him Maming, a Buddha's rice bowl, and a cock, observing that each of these gifts was worth 300,000 gold pieces. Maming's wisdom was unrivalled. Buddha had boundless virtue, and a merciful heart. The cock would not drink water that had insects in it. All three would be able to drive away enemies.
The king of the Getæ was delighted, drew back his troops, and returned to his country. After a time, the Parthians attacked him. He gained a victory, and killed 900,000 of the enemy.
Maming was born at Benares, but taught chiefly at Pataliputra. One day, while he was causing the wheel of the wonderful law to revolve, an old man suddenly fell on the ground just before him. The patriarch said, "This is no ordinary person. There will be some remarkable appearance." No sooner was this said than he vanished. Then, in a trice, a man with a golden skin rose out of the ground. He soon became changed into a young woman, who pointed with her right hand at Maming and said, "I bow to the aged and honoured patriarch. Let me receive the mark of Julai." She disappeared. The patriarch said, "A demon must be coming to struggle with me."
[paragraph continues] There was a violent wind and heavy rain. The sky became dark. The patriarch remarked, "The demon is indeed come. I must expel him."
When he pointed into the air, a golden dragon appeared, who showed marvellous power, and shook the mountains. The patriarch sat calmly, and the demon's agency came to an end.
After seven days, a small insect appeared, which hid itself under the chair of the patriarch, who took it up and said to the assembly, "This is the demon in an assumed shape come stealthily to hear my teaching."
He set the insect free, and told it to go, but the demon in it could not move. The patriarch then said to the demon, "If you only place yourself under the direction of the Three Precious Things, you may at once obtain marvellous powers." The demon at once returned to his original shape, made a prostration and a penitent confession.
The patriarch, asking him his name, he replied, "Kapimara." When the inquiry, what was the extent of his powers, was addressed to him, he replied that to transform the sea was easy to him. "Can you," asked the patriarch, "transform the 'sea of the moral nature' (sing-hai)?" He answered that he did not know what was meant. Maming explained that the physical world rests on this moral nature for its existence. So also the powers of samadhi, and of far-reaching perception on the part of Buddhist proficients, also depend on this for all their value.
Kapimara became a believer, and three thousand of his adherents all entered the ranks of the shaven monks. The patriarch called in five thousand Arhans to aid in administering the vows to this large crowd of applicants.
Kapimara became the thirteenth patriarch. His numerous followers spread the Buddhist religion in Southern India. He compiled a Shastra (Lun), called the "Shastra of the Non-ego." It extended to the length of 100 Gathas (Kie). Wherever this Shastra came, the demons and heretics were pitiably discomfited.
Lung-shu, or "Nagarjuna," was the fourteenth patriarch. He belonged to Southern India. A king there was very much opposed to Buddhism, and influenced by what that religion calls "depraved views" (sie-kien). Lung shu wished to convert him, and for seven years carried a red banner before him when travelling. The Rajah asked, "Who is this man?" He replied for himself, "I am a man possessing all kinds of knowledge." The Rajah asked, "What are the Devas now doing?" He replied, "Just now the Devas are fighting with the Asuras." In a moment they became aware of the conflict of swords in the sky, and, to the Rajah's astonishment, some ears and noses of the giants fell on the ground. The Rajah reverentially performed a prostration before Lung-shu. Ten thousand Brahmans who were at the time in the hall of audience all joined in praising the marvellous virtue of the patriarch, and at once submitted themselves to the tonsure, and entered on the monkish life.
Lung-shu wrote several important Shastras. Among them was that one called Ta-chï-tu-lun, "Shastra of the Method of Great Wisdom." He was one of the most prolific authors of the Mahayana school. On this account he became 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, comprehended 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 kingdoms 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
[paragraph continues] India. The king of his country followed a form of depraved doctrine. When men were invited to act as guards, Kanadeva 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:—(1.) 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 worship.
The sixteenth patriarch was Rahulata, a native of Kapila. 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. Rahulata 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, Rahulata entered (the word is "took," "seized on") the Nirvâna.
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, Rahulata 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." Rahulata 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 became himself an instructor.
One day Rahulata 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 disliked its taste. Rahulata said, "The fault is not in me. It is in yourselves." He then desired Sanghanandi to distribute the food and eat with the others. All wondered. Rahulata 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 everything 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 born 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 destruction and salvation. The corpse could not be removed by his disciples on account of its great weight. A large elephant 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 Nirvâna." 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 certainly 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 concealing 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 hundred 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" (sien) 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 Nirvâna, 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 present
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 condition 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 dissipated. 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 without life or death, victory or defeat, action or retribution, and you will then have attained the same eminence as the Buddhas 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 localities. Some parts of India were more favourable to Buddhism 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 named Yaja, to proceed to Western and Southern India to teach Buddhism. Evidently he would aid in giving alphabets to the Tamil and other languages, 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 Gauges, 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-hing), the "contemplatists" (ch‘un-kwan), and the "utterers of charms" (chen-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 Ashôka, 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 Get, who—retreating 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 Getæ (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
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 Gathas. "The mind follows the ten thousand forms in their revolutions. At the turning-points of revolution, there really must be darkness. By following the stream and recognising 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, Shï-tsï), 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 chronology).
The twenty-fourth patriarch was Singhalaputra, a native of Central India. He went to Candahar (Ki-pin), 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 Fa-tsu-t‘ung-hi, to have been that the remaining patriarchs were not foretold 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 recognise 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. Chï-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 contemplative 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 Pradjñatara, 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. Among 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 Buddhist 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, constructed 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 enemies were not only the Brahmans, 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 acknowledging the last four patriarchs was that, in the "Dharmapitaka Sutra," Buddha had said, "After my entering the Nirvâna, there will be twenty-four honourable teachers, who will appear in the world and teach my law" (Fo-tsu-t‘ung-ki, v. 1).
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 "Getæ" (Jats) mentioned in the account of Haklena are called Yue-ti by the Chinese. In the Cyclopædia Fa-yuen-chu-lin, it is said that the great kingdoms to the east, north, and west of India, are China, the Getæ, and the "Roman empire," Ta-ts‘in. By the kingdom of the Getæ the Chinese author meant some great empire between Rome and China. This is a statement drawn from Indian sources.
62:1 This is stated in the life of Shangnavasu, the third patriarch. The word used is hiang-ju, "fragrant milk." This is the name of a milky plant, Eschscholtzia cristata, allied to the vervain.—Williams.
66:1 This cloth was brought to China from Thibet and other western countries in the T‘ang dynasty. It was white, fine, thick, and strong. The plant of which it was made had nine stalks. When an Arhan is born this plant is found growing in some clean spot.
71:1 A Rishi who was able to detect the marks of Buddha on a child. Shakyamuni was his slave in a former birth.—Eitel.
74:1 Tsau-tsui, "creating sin," i.e., the punishment of sin. Sin and its punishment are confused and loosely identified.
83:1 "Good fortune," fu-li, "power of the king's merit." Fu, "happiness," is in a Buddhist sense "merit." By the law of hidden causation, good fortune is always deserved by some good action done, either in the present or in some former life.