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Buddhist Transmission

Chinese Context


Faxian, A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms: Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hsien of His Travels in India and Ceylon, A.D. 399-414

The following is a description of the voyage of Faxian, a Buddhist missionary from China who traveled to India, Sri Lanka and various ports in South and Southeast Asia in the late 4th, early 5th centuries. In consequence (of this success in his quest) Faxian stayed here for three years, learning Sanskrit books and the Sanskrit speech, and writing out the Vinaya rules.

When Tao-Ching [fellow scholar from China] arrived in the Central Kingdom, and saw the rules observed by the Sramanas, and the dignified demeanor in their societies which he remarked under all occurring circumstances, he sadly called to mind in what a mutilated and imperfect condition the rules were among the monkish communities in the land of China and did not return. Faxian, however, whose original purpose had been to secure the introduction of the complete Vinaya rules into the land of China, returned there alone.

Faxian abode in this country two years; and in addition to his previous acquisitions, succeeded in getting a copy of he Vinaya-pitaka of the Mahisaskah school; the Dirghagama and Samyuktagama sutras – all works unknown in the land of Han [China]. Having obtained these Sanskrit works, he took passage in a large merchantman. With a favorable wind, they proceeded eastwards for three days to the island of Sri Lanka.

Faxian. A Record of Buddhistic Kingdoms: Being an Account by the Chinese Monk Fa-Hsien of His Travels in India and Ceylon. N.p.: n.p., A.D. 399-414. Gutenberg.org. 28 Mar. 2006. Web. 1 Apr. 2016.

Which of the following is NOT an explanation for why the diffusion of Buddhism to China might have been 'mutilated' or 'imperfect' as described by Tao-Ching?


Buddhist texts might have been difficult to translate outside of the context of their creation.


The influence of Confucianism or Daoism might have impacted Chinese Buddhist practice.


Buddhist texts and practices might have arrived to China in an incomplete form.


Government bureaucracies only allowed Buddhist texts if they promoted the influence of the state.