UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Following Faxian to Kāśyapa’s gate : relocating India in the 1692 Jizu shanzhi Mitchell, Margaret


This project examines the stories surrounding the association between Jizushan, a mountain in southwestern China’s Yunnan province, and one of Śākyamuni Buddha’s earliest disciples, Mahākāśyapa. Using hagiographies and pilgrimage record excerpts from a seventeenth-century Qing-commissioned gazetteer, the 1692 Jizu shanzhi, this project examines the strategies through which this text argues for Jizushan’s significance not only as a Chinese pilgrimage site, but also how it directly associates the Chinese mountain with early Indian Buddhism. Drawing from existing scholarly work on the formation and maintenance of sacred Buddhist sites and landscapes throughout Chinese history, this project identifies the overlapping strategies present in these gazetteer excerpts: using records of Faxian (337–422), an early Buddhist pilgrim from China to India, to suggest Jizushan has a lengthy Buddhist history, arguing based on these records that Jizushan is actually the same site identified in Indian scriptures, and as a result, making a claim that Jizushan is the site of Mahākāśyapa’s body. This constructed argument for the mountain’s importance to seventeenth century Chinese Buddhists succeeds because of the continual mythic importance of Indian Buddhism to the creation of new sacred sites In China and for the legitimacy offered by ongoing relic traditions.

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