1. The present state of research
2. The purpose of the field survey
3. General outline of the field survey
4. The natural environment of the central region of Buddhist India (majjhimadesa)
5. The actuality of religious wandering
6. The Nirvana Sutra - reading of the final journey of the Buddha
7. Conclusion



This report was prepared for a debriefing meeting held on January 28, 2000. It concerns the field trip made, with financial assistance from the Chūō Academic Research Institute, between November 10 and December 4, 1999 (during the dry season when Sakyamuni and his ordained followers were considered most actively engaged in religious wandering) to various sites in the Ganges Basin (in modern Bihar and Uttar Pradesh provinces), where Sakyamuni and his ordained followers were most active. The purpose of the trip was to verify through field investigations accounts concerning religious wanderings recorded in the early Buddhist scriptural sources. The survey was undertaken by MORI Shōji, KITAHARA Hideki, and NAKASHIMA Katsuhisa; Parijat TIWARI provided on-site guidance and interpretation.

The specific objectives included the following:

(1) Identifying those places whose names appear in the early Buddhist scriptural sources associated with the rainy-season retreats of Sakyamuni and with his wanderings whose location today cannot be confirmed.
(2) The routes that linked the various sites of the rainy-season retreat.
(3) Means of transport (Could carriages or boats have been used?)
(4) The season the journeys took place.
(5) The time needed for journeys (How many days were needed for one journey?)
(6) The average itinerary travelled each day (How much distance was covered in one day?)
(7) The form of the journey (Did they travel alone or in groups?)

The investigation clarified the following points (or indicated that further detailed investigation was necessary):

(1) The locations of Campā, Pāvā, Sāketa, etc. were clarified.
(2) Routes:

(a) the route along the banks of the Ganges ( Campā - Pāṭaliputta - Vārānasī - Kosambī )

(b) the Rājagaha - Vesālī route (2 routes)

(c) the Vesālī - Malla route (2 routes)

(d) the Kapilavatthu - Vesālī route (2 routes)

(e) the Rājagaha - Vārānasī route (2 routes)

(f) the Rājagaha - Kosambī route

(g) the Rājagaha - Āḷavī route

(h) the Sāvatthī - Vesālī route

(i) the Sāvatthī - Sāketa route

(j) the Sāvatthī - Vārānasī route

(k) the Sāvatthī - Kosambī route

(l) the Sāvatthī - Verañjā route

Besides these we confirmed the importance of the route west from Sāvatthī to Takkasilā.

(3) We confirmed that in principle journeys were done on foot. There were exceptions when matters required an early arrival at the destination or when members of the party were ill. When crossing rivers, boats were seldom used because rivers were generally dry during the dry season when journeys were undertaken. Depending on location, even on the Ganges, rafts and inflatable rings may have been used, or people may have ridden on the backs of animals.
(4) We were able to verify that the wanderings of the Buddha's ordained followers occurred in April and May, and October and November (especially the latter), according to the present solar calendar, while Sakyamuni's own journeys occurred between December and March.
(5) We confirmed that journeys lasted from between one and two months.
(6) The average distance travelled was one yojana per day. One yojana equalled around 12 to 13 km.
(7) Journeys took various forms - sometimes people travelled alone, sometimes in a group, and sometimes in a caravan.

The above reports were made with the assistance of maps and photographs to provide precise detail.