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0286 Ancient Khotan : vol.1
Ancient Khotan : vol.1 / Page 286 (Color Image)

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doi: 10.20676/00000182
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Position of Vairocana's convent.


details as to its sacred objects. The notice which the Pei shih presents, probably from the records of Hui-shêng, Sung Yün's companion, and which appears to have been reproduced in

substantially the same form by the Annals of the Northern Chou S8, is far briefer ; but, on the other hand, it furnishes the name of the site occupied by the shrine and a more definite indication of its position. We read there that ' fifty li to the south of the city is the Tsan-mo temple

j 4: this is the place where once the Arhat and Bhiksu Lu-chan (Vairocana) constructed for the king of this country the Stûpa of " the turned-up pot " ; on a rock there is the place where a Pi-chih-fo (Pratyekabuddha) walked with bare feet—the two impressions are still to be seen there'.

Before proceeding to consider the topographical indications furnished by this passage, it will be useful to acquaint ourselves with the form in which the legend of the oldest Buddhist sanctuary of Khotan is reflected in the Tibetan ' Annals of Li-yul ' 39. ` One hundred and sixty-five years after the establishment of the kingdom of Li-yul Vijayasambhava, son of Yeula, ascended the throne, and in the fifth year of his reign the Dharma was first introduced into Li-yul. This king was an incarnation of Maitreya and Manjugri. Having assumed the form of a Bhiksu, the Arya Vairocana, he came and dwelt in the Tsu-la grove, in the country of Tsar-ma. There he became the spiritual guide of the inhabitants of Li-yul, and taught the ignorant cattle-herders in the Li language, and invented the characters of Li. After this the Dharma appeared. Then King Vijayasambhava built the great Vihara of Tsar-ma.' When the Vihâra was finished Vairocana asked the king to sound the ghaniâ. As the latter refused unless the Tathâgata appeared and gave him a ghaniâ, ' immediately Vairocana assumed the appearance of the Tathâgata, and after having taught like the Tathâgata sixty great Sravakas at Tsar-ma, he gave king Vijayasambhava a ghaniâ, and the king sounded it without ceasing for seven days. After that Vairocana invited the Naga king Hu-lor to bring from Kashmir a Caitya which contained corporal relics of the seven Tathagatas. It came through the air, and is at present at Tsar-ma 40. This Caitya is in the Gandhakûta, and is surrounded by a halo 41.'

The interest of this version, which in the main is but an amplification of the legend as told by Hsiian-tsang, lies in the indication it furnishes as to the traditional date for the introduction of Buddhism into Khotan (404 years after Buddha's Nirvana), and in the name Tsar-ma given to the locality where Vairocana's Vihâra was built. The identity of the name here intended with the Tsan-mo of the Pei shih passage has been already pointed out by Mr. Rockhill. Nor does it seem doubtful that this Tibetan form came closer to the original local name than the Chinese transcription Tsan-mo, in which, as so often, the closing r of the first syllable has been dropped 42.

But while the recorded forms of the name of the locality closely agree, the statements as to its position show a serious discrepancy as far as the distance from the capital is concerned. The Hsi yü-chi and the ' Life ' place it io 1i to the south of the latter, but the notices of the Pei shih and Chou shu, though agreeing in the bearing, give the distance as 5o li. My inquiries in the neighbourhood of Yatkan failed to reveal any site to the south at the approximate distance

The Tsanmo temple.

Legend of Tsar-ma Vihâra.

38 See Chavannes, Voyage de Song Fun, p. 15, note 5, p. 18, note 9 ; for the corresponding extracts in the Pien i tien comp. Ville de Khotan, pp. 20, 29.

$9 See Rockhill, Life of the Buddha, pp. 237 sq. I have given the correct spelling of Sanskrit words often imperfectly transcribed in these extracts ; thus also above.

'0 The translation shows the name here as a Tsar-ma.

4' In a subsequent extract from the ' Prediction of Sanghavardhana ', relating a fantastic story of the emigration of all Buddhist priests from Khotan to Tibet, we find the Tsar-ma (sic) Vihâra mentioned as the locality where the Bhiksus assembled before setting out on their journey; see Life of the Buddha, p. 24 r.

'2 See the remarks above, p. I0, note 6.