Chih Sheng (688-740 AD)

N. Ganesan naga_ganesan at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 22 23:13:19 UTC 1999

Petr Mares wrote:
>Can you tell me please the name of work of Zhi Sheng (Chih
>Sheng) that mentions the Malaya country?
>(The Taisho number will be fine)
>Do you know what he says there exactly?
> Chih Sheng is today transcribed in China as
>Zhi Sheng and I only have been able to find one scholar of that name.
>name was zhi4 sheng1 and he was compiler of the catalogues of Buddhist
>texts Tang Dynasty, in between them the most famous catalogue of
>Chinese Buddhists from Tang Dynasty the "Kai1Yuan2 Lu4". He did not
>left anything that I know: except his catalogues and encyclopedic work.
>doubt this person could have first hand experience about the Malaya and
>location. But I would be interested to check your reference if I can.

 Dear Petr Mares,

 Yes. This is the person.  Chih Sheng talking
 of pu-ta-lo-chia in malaya country paralleling Hsuan Tsang's
 description is the same as zhi4 sheng1.
 Please check for me the exact words of Chih Sheng.

 The information I have on Chih Sheng's writing in seventh
 century AD is from a Japanese book:
 Daiyu Goto, Kanzeon Bosatsu no kenkyu,
 Tokyo: Sankibo Busshorin,
 1976, 400 p.,
 Edition: Shutei Zoho

 According to Goto, Chih Sheng says "Malaya country is where the
 palace of Avalokitezvara located. It is near Mt. Potalaka
 which faces the seashore in the South of India".
 It is the same statement made by Hsuan Tsang. Chih Sheng simply
 repeats it.

 Goto's interpretation: Goto early in the present century
 expresses puzzlement over the fact how can a mountain
 facing the seashore be situated in the ocean. And, if it is
 really a mountain in the ocean, should it not be called island?
 Goto continues: But if Mt. Potalaka is in an island,
 how come both Hsuan-tsang and Chih-sheng called Potalaka
 a mountain instead of an island?

 I gave Hsuan Tsang's passages (from Beal and Watters)
 on  15 Feb 1999. The reasons for locating Mt. Potalaka
 as Mt. Potiyil/Potikai in Malaya mountains using
 Tsang data was given on 2 Feb 1999 under the title
 Mount Potalaka in Malaya mountains.

 Also, I wrote 8 Feb 1999 using Tsang data
 "Potiyil is the malaya mountain. The topmost point of potiyil reaches
2072.6 metres in height. It is visible from Trivandrum on the west
coast. (So it is not very far from the sea.) The origin of river
tAmraparNi is in potiyil. Potiyil has been historically famous for
sandal tree. There is a ziva temple with pAzupata influence at the
foot of potiyil. Palaniappan has shown earlier
that there is similarity between avalokitEzvara and dakSiNAmUrti
forms, and that the presence of dakSiNAmUrti cult at potiyil has been
 mentioned in the Classical Tamil text, maturaikkAJci.  All these
factors match Hieun Tsang's description and ensure that the
identification of Potalaka with Potiyil by
reputed scholars (N. De, N. Dutt, KAN Sastri) is not arbitrary."

 May be Daiyu Goto's puzzles early in this century are due to his
 lack of info on South Indian geography, particularly about
 the Malaya mountains.

 With kind regards,
 N. Ganesan

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