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Arrival Of Buddhist Priests.

TWO Buddhist priests having arrived from the West, one went to the Wut‘ai hill, while the other hung up his staff at T‘aishan. Their clothes, complexions, language, and features, were very different from those of our country. They further said they had crossed the Fiery Mountains, from the peaks of which smoke was always issuing as from the chimney of a furnace; that they could only travel after rain, and that excessive caution was necessary to avoid displacing any stone and thus giving a vent to the flames. They also stated that they had passed through the River of Sand, in the middle of which was a crystal hill with perpendicular sides and perfectly transparent; and that there was a defile just broad enough to admit a single cart, its entrance guarded by two dragons with crossed horns. Those who wished to pass prostrated themselves before these dragons, and on receiving permission to enter, the horns opened and let them through. The dragons were of a white colour, and their scales and bristles seemed to be of crystal. Eighteen winters and summers these priests had been on the road; and of twelve who started from the west together, only two reached China. These two said that in their country four of our mountains are held in great esteem, namely, T‘ai, Hua, Wut‘ai, and Lochia. The people there also think that China is paved with yellow gold, that Kuanyin and Wênshu are still alive, and that they have only come here to be sure of their Buddhahood and of immortal life. Hearing these words it struck me that this was precisely what our own people say and think about the West; and that if travellers from each country could only meet half way and tell each other the true state of affairs, there would be some hearty laughter on both sides, and a saving of much unnecessary trouble.

西僧

兩僧自西域來,一赴五臺,一卓錫泰山。其服色言貌,俱與中國殊異。自言:「歷火焰山,山重重,氣熏騰若爐灶。凡行必于雨後,心凝目注,輕跡步履之;誤蹴山石,則飛焰騰灼焉。又經流沙河,河中有水晶山,峭壁插天際,四面瑩澈,似無所隔。又有隘,可容單車;二龍交角對口把守之。過者先拜龍;龍許過,則口角自開。龍色白,鱗鬣皆如晶然。」僧言:「途中歷十八寒暑矣。離西土者十有二人,至中國僅存其二。西土傳中國名山四:一泰山,一華山,一五臺,一落伽也。相傳山上遍地皆黃金,觀音﹑文殊猶生。能至其處,則身便是佛,長生不死。」聽其所言狀,亦猶世人之慕西土也。倘有西遊人,與東渡者中途相值,各述所有,當必相視失笑,兩免跋涉矣。

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