Chih Sheng (688-740 AD)

Nobumi Iyanaga n-iyanag at PPP.BEKKOAME.OR.JP
Tue Feb 23 06:00:13 UTC 1999

Dear Mr. Ganesan and Mr. Mares,

I was following your discussions with interest.

At 1:08 AM +0100 2/23/99, Petr Mares wrote:
> >  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.
> I would be glad to check all, but you have to tell me in what book
> and where he wrote it. There is five voluminous works of this author
> in the Taisho.  Those I have seen were 3 catalogues of Buddhist
> Tripitaka (very large), a work called "Collection of controversies
> between Buddhist and Taoist from before and now" T2105 and work
> called "Collection of writing on confession and worship from various
> sutras" T1982, unless you can tell me the reference, there is no
> way for me to find where is the section you mention.
> >

I could find some (very) little references to Malaya and Potalaka in two of
the Catalogs compiled by Zhisheng.  It is not very difficult to find these
things when we can be helped by the Indices of Taisho...  In T. LV 2152 i
372b19-20   and T. LV 2154 ix 571b27-28, there is a biography of the Tantric
master Vajrabodhi (the two seem the same).  Zhisheng states at the beginning
of this biography that Vajrabodhi "comes from the country of Malaya, in the
South India".  Then in a note, he writes:  "The name of this country is
translated here [= in Chinese] 'guangming' [Shining light].  Near to this
country, there is the Palace of Avalokite"svara [in ?] the Mountain
Potalaka".  The same thing is repeated by a later compiler of Canon Catalog,
Yuanzhao, T. LV 2157 xiv 875a13-14.

That is all that I could find so far.

> >  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
> I am sorry I do not know Japanese.
> >

I often see this book in old book shops in Tokyo, but I don't have it.  Does
Mr. Ganesan read Japanese?  If not, how did he know what is written in this

> >  It is the same statement made by Hsuan Tsang. Chih Sheng simply
> >  repeats it.
> He was encyclopedist as you may see from above so he probably
> just rewrote the words he read without firsthand knowledge (or am I
> wrong for some reason?).

I too think so.  The travel of Xuanzang was very well known so that it is
not surprising that he is quoted in this way.
But it is well known also that Chinese people in Tang period were in general
well aware of Indian things; it is not impossible that Zhisheng had some
more direct informations.

> I remeber I saw the doubts about the authenticity of the 10-12
> fasciculis of XuanZang even in some old western works (is it not
> mentioned in Watters, Max Muller's Buddhist Pilgrims or Waley's
> Real Tripitaka? I do not have them here but will check when I go to
> library). I also read earlier in the biography of Xuan Zang written in
> 665 A.D. (can be found in Taisho 2053) that he did not visit
> MalayakuTa, he just heard about it, Is the Potiyil mountain in that
> region?

I have never heard of any doubt about the authenticity of the last part of
the travel of Xuanzang.  Wouldn't it that some of the descriptions found in
these fascicules are based on hearsay evidences, since Xuanzang never went
himself to some of the regions he describes (e.g. Malaku.ta, Malaya
mountain, Potalaka, among others), so that these informations are not very

> My question not related to Zhi Sheng is:
> Does the Manimekhalai or quotations from Ilambodhiyar mentions
> Malaya or is there anything about La.Nka there?
> What about Silappadhikaram?
> Sincerely
> Petr Mares

Best regards,

Nobumi Iyanaga

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Thank you!

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