Buddhist monk (bhikkhu), historian, pilgrim, and travelogue author along the ancient Silk Road and into India

Faxian (traditional Chinese: 法顯; simplified Chinese: 法显; pinyin: Fǎxiǎn; 337 – c. 422) was a Chinese Buddhist monk and translator who traveled by foot from Ancient China to Ancient India, visiting many sacred Buddhist sites in Central Asia, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia between 399-412 to acquire Buddhist texts. His journey is described in his important travelogue, A Record of Buddhist Kingdoms, Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Xian of his Travels in India and Ceylon in Search of the Buddhist Books of Discipline. Other transliterations of his name include Fa-Hien, and Fa-hsien.

Faxian at Daishō-in Temple, Miyajima

Quotes Edit

  • The people are numerous and happy; they have not to register their households, or attend to any magistrates or their rules; only those who cultivate the royal land have to pay a portion of the gain from it. If they want to go they go; if they want to stay they stay. The king governs without decapitation or corporal punishments. Criminals are simply fined; . . . even in cases of repeated attempts at wicked rebellion they only have their right hands cut off. . . . Throughout the whole country the people do not kill any living creature, nor eat onions or garlic. The only exception is that of the Chandalas. . . . In that country they do not keep pigs and fowls, and do not sell live cattle; in the markets there are no butchers’ shops, and no dealers in intoxicating drinks.

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