Posted on Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011

Calling someone a liar is provocative. Calling a Buddhist priest a liar based on a report about Fusang that he made for the Emperor of China, Wu Ti, in 502 A.D. is quite amazing especially when that accusation is made by a scholar. However that is exactly what sinologist Dr. E. Bretschneider wrote in 1870 about Hwui Shan and Hwui’s reported trip to Fusang in 458 A.D.

Throughout the ages Chinese literature has referred to an extremely beautiful land on the other side of the Eastern Sea called Fusang. One of the most popular ancient Chinese myths is the story of The Ten Sun/Ravens and their rebellion. That myth which includes the subsequent execution of 9 of the 10 Sun Ravens by the archer Yi also includes the mention of Fusang. For in Fusang was the enormous tree (Sequoia?) at the top of which was the palace from which each day a different Sun would take his turn and make his way across the Eastern Sea passing over China before completing his journey back to the Fusang palace where he would wait his turn before making the trip again.

An early Chinese writer said that Fusang was 10,000 li from the nearest coast to the furthest coast where there was another ocean. (There were approximately 3 li in 1 mile. That makes 10,000 li approximately 3300 miles, which is approximately our country’s width)

By Hwai Shan’s time in 458 AD Fusang was old news in China. It had been discovered by the Chinese long before this Buddhist expedition.

Although not well known to the average citizen there have been numerous scholarly historians, researchers as well as amateurs who have written on this topic. It was M. Joseph De Guignes, a Frenchman who first broke this story in 1761 in a book written about the topic. He translated Hwui Shan’s report “found in the Chinese imperial archives” into French. Allow me to have Henriette Mertz tell you the story of the Fusang debate as recorded in her book, Pale Ink -Chapter II.

Seventy five years before Henriette Mertz, Charles Godfrey Leland, an American author published Fusang – The Discovery of America by Buddhist Priests in the Fifth Century. His “must read” book represents as unbiased an opinion on this topic as I have read. He delves into the vigorous discussions pro & con on this topic. He acknowledged that the evidence available in 1875 was not sufficient to prove the case. However he encouraged others to press on to discover more evidence in the hope to one day possibly prove the thesis.

In 1885 Edward P. Vining published “An Inglorius Columbus: Evidence that Hwui Shan and a Party of Buddhist Monks Discovered America in the Fifth Century, A.D.

Lively debates are still on going as more ancient tombs are discovered and opened, geoglyphs are discovered and supporting evidence is found.

Then why was it then (and even today) so important to discredit this Buddhist priest.
For those who wish this story wasn’t true Hwui Shan’s report must be discredited because his report details the trip to Tahan (Siberia) and then on to the Americas. His account is the only account to date that specifically says how you could get from China to Fusang. If you don’t want America to be ancient Fusang then you must discredit the descriptions, distances and directions given by this ancient explorer/missionary.

However, if you chose to ignore him you still would have to deal with the Mojave Desert references in Chinese literature called “The Great Waste” reported near the west side of Fusang, Chinese descriptions of the Grand Canyon, The La Brea Tar Pits called the Sea of Varnish and references to the hummingbird and opossum, along with numerous other animals indigenous to the Americas.

These discussions are not getting the mainstream attention I believe they deserve. Those of us who support this thesis continue to work to locate and present new evidence as well as continue to bring forward old evidence that we believe will eventually tip the scale of public opinion.

I am personally motivated in this quest by my late father’s passion and exhortations on this topic and the exhortations of so many others now long deceased.

  1. “But though this voyage from the oldest portion of the Old World—historically speaking—to the newest portion of the New, can be made by remaining almost constantly in sight of land, I do not recommend it; and I am sure that any man in any kind of a boat, who had sufficient enterprise and patience to undertake it, would have easily found the shorter route. But there is a still stronger argument for the voyage across having been undertaken, in this, that Chinese sailors had long been traveling in a route of which this was a mere continuation, and that not a very difficult one. For, in reality, from Singapore in Malacca to Batavia in the island of Java, and to Shanghai in China, the trip is almost an actual coasting one, the steamers nowadays running from point to point. To a landsman it is doubtless pleasant to see fresh islands every day, but a sailor greatly prefers the open sea, until he makes the land near his port. From Hakododi, Japan, the arc of the great circle joining it with San Francisco passes almost exactly beside the central island of the Aleutians. This distance is about 4250 miles. One objection to the route is this, the fogs about those islands being actually ten times worse, in every way, than those of London, they are avoided as much as possible by steering father south, or rather by running more directly to the east.” Written by Colonel Barclay Kennon officer in the United States Coast Survey and Naval Explorer of the Bering Straits. Fusang/Charles Leland (Page 72 & 73) April 1874 (The Battle of Little Big Horn, June 1876 –Reference Point in History)
  2. “If Buddhist priests were really the first men who, within the scope of written history and authentic annals, went from the Old World to the New, it will sooner or later be proved. Nothing can escape history that belongs to it…..I do not know how or when it will be, but I am persuaded that ancient America will in time yield her Moabite stones and Rosetta slabs to the patient inquirer. The records of Mexico carefully destroyed by wicked bigots, who, not satisfied with extermiuating a flourishing and happy nation, sought to commit a double murder by killing its past life. But it will be found again; for science will yet achieve that, and more”. Fusang/Charles Leland 1875 Page 85
  3. “The truth is, that the vindication of Hoei-Shin (Hwui Shan) is of little importance in itself compared to what lies behind it and what it may lead to. I refer to those early ages peopled by strange and cloudy forms—ages not without gleams of barbaric splendour—hinted at in the account of the embassies bearing mirrors in which could be seen “the palace of the sun”—perhaps that very Palace of the Sun itself known so well to the Mexicans. Should the investigation lead to anything positive relative to the early settlement of America, and to the action or reaction of the humble priest, who did not even claim to be the first from beyond sea whose footsteps had fallen in the Golden Land of Fusang, may well be allowed to pass into oblivion, if nothing more occurs to confirm its authenticity” Fusang/Charles Leland Page 187

Additional Sources

  1. Scientific Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages to and from the Americas, Part 1 John L. Sorenson and Carl L. Johansson
  2. Scientific Evidence for Pre-Columbian Transoceanic Voyages to and from the Americas, Part 2 John L. Sorenson
  3. A Comparison Between Chinese Taoism and Native American Religious Tradition Gary R.Varner
  4. A Prehistoric Moving Sidewalk to  America   (A “Path in the Sea” Ocean Currents Psalms 8:8) The Kuroshio Current by R. A. Barkley

“It is my desire that as you consider the lovely long ago morning of Fusang, your soul be stirred with a new appreciation of the beauty of life and the innate possibilities of men…that you will hear the music of man’s aspirations, deep in your spirit…and catch a glimpse of the excellent countenance of God.”   Dr. Hendon M. Harris, Jr.  The Asiatic Fathers of America.

The Beak Of The 10th Sun Raven—STILL GLOWS!

Categorized as Articles

Leave a Reply