PATRIARCHS OF INDIA AND CHINA
CHU FA LAN OF THE HAN DYNASTY
--Translated by Disciple Bhiksu Heng Ching
The Venerable One was born in central India. He learned several tens of thousands of chapters of Sastras, and was the master of many students throughout India. When Tsai Hsin reached India, the Master was traveling together with Kasyapa Matanga, and planned on accompanying the Venerable Kasyapa to China. He was hindered by his students, however, and had to leave them secretly. He finally arrived at Loyang and dwelt with Kasyapa Matanga.
Before long they were both familiar with the Chinese language and translated a number of Sutras including The Sutra of the Ten Successive Stages, Sutra of the Buddha's Life, Sutra of the Dharma Sea Treasury, Sutra of the Buddha's Deeds, and the Sutra in Forty-two Sections. Because the times were troubled by bandits and civil disorders, four of these works have been lost; there remains only the Sutra in Forty-two Sections.
In earlier times, when the Han Emperor Wu was having Kun Ming Pond excavated, the workmen uncovered a large quantity of black ashes. These were shown to the learned old hermit Tung Fang Suo who was reputed to know everything. He admitted that he did not know what they were, but that the western barbarian might be asked. When the Master Chu Fa Lan arrived, everyone asked him about the ashes, and he replied that they were the remains of the disaster of fire, which arises at the end of the world.
When he died at Loyang, he was more than sixty years old. This eulogy says:
sages do not teach alone, they must have a retinue.
1 Fa Lan, Chinese.
Tsai Hsin, emissary from China, the Court of Han, was sent to India in
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