Alleged "forgery" of Xuan Zang's quote

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 15 14:47:47 UTC 1999

This is my original letter to
Prof. Chun-fang Yu of Rutgers university.
Her reply was posted earlier in this thread.

N. Ganesan


Dear Prof. Yu,

Greetings from N. Ganesan

I read the following passages in Xuan Zang's travel records
published by T. Watters in 1905 and S. Beal in 1884.

Petr Mares, Czech Republic, informed me:
"The whole chapter in Xi Yu Ji, where Xuan Zang describes
the Malaya mountain and Pu-ta-lo-chia (= Mt. Potalaka)
is considered later forgery by Chinese commentators".

Please inform me whether Petr's statement is correct.
If so, then to what century/dynasty the following passages
can be assigned?

To T'ang dynasty period?

Your answer is greatly appreciated.

Many Thanks,
N. Ganesan
naga_ganesan at

Th. Watters, On Yuan Chwang's travels in India, 1905
2.229 says:
"In the south of the mo-lo-kuta (malakUTa)
country near the sea  was mo-lo-ya (malaya) mountain, lofty cliffs and
ridges and deep valleys and gullies, on which were sandal, camphor
and other trees. To the east of this was the pu-ta-lo-ka (potalaka)
mountain with steep narrow paths over its cliffs and gorges in
irregular confusion; on the top was a lake of clear water, whence
issues a river which on its wayto the sea, flowed twenty times round
the mountain. By the side of the lake was a deva place frequented by
kuan-tzu-tsai-p'usa (avalokitezvara). Devotees, risking life,
brave water and mountain to see the P'usa, but only a few succeed in
reaching the shrine. To the people at the foot of the mountain who
pray for a sight of the P'usa, he appears sometimes as a pAzupata
tIrthika, or mahezvara, and consoles the suppliant with his answer."

S. Beal, Si-yu-ki, Buddhist records of the Western world, 1884
2.233  says:
"To the east of the Malaya mountains is Mount Po-ta-lo-kia
(Potalaka). The passes of this mountain are very dangerous; its
sides are precipitous, and its valleys rugged. On the top of
the mountain is a lake; its waters are clear as mirror. From
a hollow proceeds a great river which encircles the mountain
as it flows down twenty times and then enters the southern sea,
By the side of the lake is a rock-palace of the Devas. Here
Avalokitezvara in coming and going takes his abode. Those
who strongly desire to see this Bodhisattva do not regard
their lives, but, crossing the water (fording the streams), climb
the mountain forgetful of its difficulties and dangers; Of those
who make the attempt there are very few who reach the summit.
But even of those who dwell below the mountain, if they earnestly
pray and beg to behold the god, sometimes he appears as
Tsz'-tsai-t'ien (Izvara deva), sometimes under the form of a yogi
(a Paazupata); he addresses them with benevolent words and then
they obtain their wishes according to their desires."


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