Kucha

From Academic Kids

Kucha (Modern Chinese Simplified: 库车, Traditional: 庫車, pinyin K¨chē, also romanized Chiu-tzu, Kiu-che, Kuei-tzu. Ancient Chinese 屈支 屈茨; 龜弦; 丘玆, also Po (bai in pinyin?)). The population was given as 74,632 in 1990.

Kucha was an ancient Buddhist kingdom located on the branch of the Silk Road that ran along the northern edge of the Taklamakan desert in the Tarim Basin. (The area lies in present day Xinjiang, China).

Kucha was strongly influenced by Indian thought, and Indian kings are said to have reigned there. For a long time Kucha was the most populous oasis in the Tarim Basin. The language, as evidenced by ancient records, was Tocharian, an Indo-European language most closely related to ancient Celtic and Germanic languages.

Contents

Kucha and Buddhism

Buddhism was introduced to Kucha before the end of the 1st century, however it was not until the 3rd century that the kingdom became a major center of Buddhism, primarily the Shravakayana branch but also Mahayana. (In this respect it differed from Khotan, a Mahayana-dominated kingdom on the southern side of the desert.)

According to the Chinese Book of Jin, during the third century there were nearly one thousand Buddhist stupas and temples in Kucha. At this time, Kuchanese monks began to travel to China. The fourth century saw yet further growth for Buddhism within the kingdom. The palace was said to resemble a Buddhist monastery, displaying carved stone Buddhas, and monasteries around the city were numerous.

Monasteries

  • Ta-mu had 170 monks
  • Che-hu-li on Po-shan (Chinese 白山?; pinyin bai shan?), a hill to the north of the town, had 50 or 60 monks.
  • Another monastery, founded by the king of Wen-Su (Uch-Turfan) had 70 monks.

Nunneries

There were two nunneries at A-li (Avanyaka):

  • Liun-jo-kan: 50 nuns
  • A-li-po: 30 nuns

Another nunnery, Tsio-li, was 40 li north of Kucha and is famous as the place where Kumārajīva's mother Jīva retired.

Monks

Po-Yen

A monk from the royal family known as Po-Yen travelled to the Chinese capital, Luoyang, from 256-260. He translated six Buddhist texts to Chinese in 258 at China's famous White Horse Temple, including the Infinite Life Sutra, an important sutra in the Pure Land Buddhism.

Po-Po-Śrīmitra

Po-Śrīmitra was another Kuchean monk who traveled to China from 307-312 and translated three Buddhist texts.

Po-Yen

A second Kuchean Buddhist monk known as Po-Yen also went to Liangzhou (the Wuwei region of modern Gansu), China and is said to have been well-respected, although he is not known to have translated any texts.

Neighbors

The kingdom bordered Aksu then Kashgar to the west, and Karasahr then Turfan to the east. Across the desert to the south was Khotan.

Timeline

Sources

References

  • Hill, John E. 2003. "Annotated Translation of the Chapter on the Western Regions according to the Hou Hanshu." 2nd Draft Edition. [1] (http://depts.washington.edu/uwch/silkroad/texts/hhshu/hou_han_shu.html)
  • Hill, John E. 2004. The Peoples of the West from the Weilue 魏略 by Yu Huan 魚豢: A Third Century Chinese Account Composed between 239 and 265 CE. Draft annotated English translation. [2] (http://depts.washington.edu/uwch/silkroad/texts/weilue/weilue.html)
  • HulsewÚ, A. F. P. and Loewe, M. A. N. 1979. China in Central Asia: The Early Stage 125 BC – AD 23: an annotated translation of chapters 61 and 96 of the History of the Former Han Dynasty. E. J. Brill, Leiden.
  • Puri, B. N. Buddhism in Central Asia, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Private Limited, Delhi, 1987. (2000 reprint).
  • Stein, Aurel M. 1912. Ruins of Desert Cathay: Personal narrative of explorations in Central Asia and westernmost China, 2 vols. Reprint: Delhi. Low Price Publications. 1990.
  • Stein, Aurel M. 1921. Serindia: Detailed report of explorations in Central Asia and westernmost China, 5 vols. London & Oxford. Clarendon Press. Reprint: Delhi. Motilal Banarsidass. 1980.[3] (http://dsr.nii.ac.jp/toyobunko/)
  • Stein Aurel M. 1928. Innermost Asia: Detailed report of explorations in Central Asia, Kan-su and Eastern Iran, 5 vols. Clarendon Press. Reprint: New Delhi. Cosmo Publications. 1981.
  • Yu, Taishan. 2004. A History of the Relationships between the Western and Eastern Han, Wei, Jin, Northern and Southern Dynasties and the Western Regions. Sino-Platonic Papers No. 131 March, 2004. Dept. of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, University of Pennsylvania.

External links

fr:Koutcha

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