The history of Funan, Chenla, and Lin-yi 2017-9-24

I wrote "The History of Srivijaya" (Mekong Publishing Co., Tokyo) in 2012. In my story, I have presented many views which are different from preceding theories, especially those of G. Coedès. Probably most historians may not like my theory and they continue to ignore my theory as undesirable. However, it is clearly written in the “Xin (New) Tang Shu” that the capital of Srivijaya was located in the Malay Peninsula. That is because they could not understand only 4 Chinese scripts郎婆露斯(Lang Po Lu Si).

In my book, I have discussed that the capital of Srivijaya (Shi-li-fo-shi) located in the Malay Peninsula, and finally I have found the real meaning 'Lang Po-Lu-Si' which was the word used mainly by Perssian and Arab merchants and scholars around 9th century.

The people of Southeast Asia are surrounded by the wrong ancient histories mostly written by the western historians (including Japanese). I have found so many mistakes in their books. When I wrote my book, I could not have referred to them except small number of historians.  I used mainly “The Standard History of China dynasties(正史)” and classical Chinese “Encyclopedia” such as “Tong-Dian通典

 Especially the theory of G. Coedès influenced so many historians. After reading the Kedukan Bukit inscription, Coedès easily decided that Palembang was the capital of Shi-li-fo-sh (Srivijaya). Before him Dr. Jyunjirou Takakusu had translated Yi-Jing’s “Nan-hui Chi-kuei Nei-fa Chuan(南海寄帰内法伝)”, in which he introduced that Palembang was the capital of San-fo-chi (Sri-Bhoga). The reason why Dr. Takakusu brought Sri Bhoga (Srivijaya) to Palembang is apparent. He believed what Ma-Huan(馬歓) wrote, theYing-Yai Sheng-Lan(瀛涯勝覧), in 1416, in which Ma dictated that Ku-kang (旧港=Old Port) is the same country as was formerly called San-fo-chi (三佛斉) , and Ku-kang (旧港=old port) was also called Palembang (浡淋邦) which was under suzerainty of Java.

Dr. Takakusu had probably started his study from Ma-Huan who said ‘Ku-kang (Old Port)
was another name of Palembang, but Palembang had been one of the vassal states of Srivijaya and San-fo-chi, but neither the capital of San-fo-chi (Srivijaya) nor the leader of San-fo-chi group.

Reading above sentence of Ma-Huan, Dr. Takakusu might have misunderstood that Palembang was the capital of Shih-li-fo-shi (
室利佛逝= Srivijaya). However, when Ma-Huan wrote this book, San-fo-chi had disappeared 2 centuries before. He knew nothing about real San-fo-chi, and there had been no evidence about the status of Palembang.
The location of Shi-li-fo-shi (Srivijaya) should be determined by referring to the Xin Tang-Shu (
新唐書=New History of Tang).
The Xin Tang Shu
clearly write
「室利仏逝、西曰郎婆露斯」;This means that the west of Shi-li-fo-shi is ‘Lang Po Lu Si(the Nicobar Islands). So, Shi-li-fo-shi was located in the Malay Peninsula. Lang Po Lu si (郎婆露斯)’ is 'Lang Barus' which means the Nicobar Islands. In Japan, Dr. Rokuro Kuwata knew the fact. Most Western historians have never noticed this meaning.

Ibn Khurdadbeh says that from Serendib (Sri Lanka) to ‘Langabalus’, it takes 10-15 days to cover its distance; from ‘Langbalus’ to Kalah (Kedah), it is 6 days. In this case ‘Langbalus’ means ‘the Nicobar Islands’.  Chinese translated ‘Langabalus’ as ‘郎婆露斯’. In the 9th-10th century, Persia and Araban sailors (traders) called the Nicobar Islands as ‘Langabalus’.

Very few historians criticized Coedès’ theory. Michael Vickery has correctly criticized Coedès about his historical theory on Khmer, but he has probably embraced Palembang theory. There have been so many followers of Coedès. Even Q. Wales admitted that Yi Jing had been to Palembang. Yi Jing had never been to Sumatra, he just stopped over the Mulayu (末羅瑜)kingdom in his itinerary. Mulayu was located at the Riau Islands in the 7th century and was an intermediary state of ‘East-West’ trade.

Dr. Junjiro Takakusu put a sheet of map, in his translation of Yi-Jing's (義浄) Nan-hui Chi-kuei Nei-fa Chuan(南海寄帰内法伝). His map contains serious mistakes. Yi-Jing had never been to Palembang and he stopped over Kedah not Aceh. Yi-Jing's real itinerary course was Chaiya(室利仏逝)⇒Mulayu(末羅瑜=in front of Singapore)⇒Kedah(羯茶)⇒Nicobar Islands (裸人國=Naked people islands)Tamralipti (Bengal port)onland route to Nalanda (India).

It goes without saying that the ancient Southeast Asian history has many ‘missing links’. It is historians’ duty to compensate for ’missing links’, but as far as I know very few of them have been successful. On the contrary, many mistakes are prevailing around the world. That is because many historians are lack of imagination and ability to understand the evidence. Many historians had not read accurately the Chinese historical record especially most of the Western historians could not read the Chinese texts directly. Unfortunately, many historians follow uncritically the preceding historians, so many mistakes and misunderstanding have been re-produced and prevailed around the world. The more rational thinking is required to historians.

 I want to point out here is that ‘economic geography’ perspective must be incorporated more in the Southeast Asian ancient history research. Of course, past historians also introduced geographical elements, but so many historians have been dragged to the wrong directions. It is because they have accepted uncritically the theory of G. Coedès.

 So, we should not forget nor neglect to study the approximate economic development and evolution. Deciphering the Chinese text and inscriptions are important but not sufficient to solve mystery of the ancient Southeast Asian history.

In the past, the history of Southeast Asia had been mostly established by Westerners. However, they made too many misunderstandings and mistakes. They contributed very much to read inscriptions, but their theories are often incomplete and derailed. They are regarded authorities, but without real authority. Now is the time when the ancient history of Southeast Asia should be revised and rewritten.


Chapter 1 Funan

1-1 Early history of Funan(扶南)

The kingdom of Funan was first recorded as a tributary state from the Mekong Delta to the Wu Dynasty (呉)in 225 AD. The origin of Funan was supposed to be founded in the first century and was kicked out around 530 from the Mekong Delta by Chenla (真臘) which had been a former subordinate state of Funan. The word of Funan is supposed transcribed by the Chinese officials, from the Khmer language ‘Bhnam or Vnam’ meaning modern language ‘Phnom=mountain’.

 In Chinese characters, ‘扶(Fu’means ‘support’ and ‘南(nanmeans ‘south’, so ‘扶南means probably Support Southof the Wu Dynasty)’.  From the beginning, the Wu Court treated Funan as a friendly state and sent two high ranking officials to Funan, Zhu-Ying(朱応) and Kang-Tai (康泰).  Both left very important information about Funan and neighboring countries.

In the formal dynastic histories of China (正史), Funan had been described as the major state of the Mekong Delta area. Funan had sent missions to China many times. Probably the Chinese chronicles were mainly written according to the information brought by the tribute missions. So, there might be some exaggerations and biased reports. 

Kang-Tai had written a legend of the origin of Funan in his report, which is quoted in the Tai Ping Yu Lan, vol.347 (太平御覧、巻347as follows:

According to the legend, a young Brahman (or Ksatria) named Khon-Tien(混填=Kaundinya)’came over to a certain seashore of the Mekong Delta area from Tamralipti (Bengal port) on a large Indian merchant ship, A local princess named Liu-ye (柳葉) tried to take over the ship, then Khon-Tien used the sacred bow given by God and the first arrow had penetrated the queen’s boat.  She was strongly panicked and surrendered to Khon-Tien and they married. Then they established a new country ‘Funan’. They got seven children, and distributed them seven small states.

The similar story is recorded in the My-Son (in Champa) inscription dated 658, that Kaundinya, the foremost among Brahmans, planted the spear which he had obtained from Drona’s son Asvatham, the best Brahmam. There was a daughter of a king of serpents, called ‘Soma’. She was taken as wife by Kaundinya. Funan people believed their origin was established by Kaundynia and Soma.

A Japanese historian, Dr. Naojiro Sugimoto (杉本直治郎) estimates Funan was founded between the end of the first century and the beginning of the second century.

More details were quoted in the Liang Shu (梁書).

“Hundred years later, King Ban-Kuang (媻況) integrated these small states. He died at the age of 90. His son ‘Ban-Ban (媻媻) inherited the throne, and he left administration to ‘Great general Fan-shi-man (范師蔓)’.  King Ban-Ban died three years later. Then the Funan people all together recommended Fan-(shi)-man to succeed the throne. Fan-man was a strong and tactical general. He had conquered neighboring states, and called himself ‘Great king of Funan’. He made fleet of rowing large boats and invaded major international ports of the region. For instance Qu-du-kun(屈都昆)、Takua Pa (九稚)Tenasserim (頓遜) and other states, totally more than 10. He expanded territory 5-6 thousand li (2000-2400 km) along the sea shore. Next he intended to conquer the Jin-lin state (金隣国), probably Kanchanaburi (or U Tong), but unfortunately he had a serious illness. He dispatched his son ‘Jin-sheng (金生)’ as a commander. However, a son of Fan-mans elder sister, ‘Fan-zhan (范旃)’, at that time a general with 2,000 soldiers killed Jin sheng and usurped kingship. Fan-mans youngest son named ‘Chang ()’, who had lived among ordinary people until age 20, organized brave friends and killed Fan-zhan. However general Fan-shou (范壽), a subordinate of Fan-zhan killed Chang and became the King of Funan. In 243, Fan-zhan (范旃) sent his envoy to the Wu Dynasty.”

Funan had been a giant maritime state which financially depended on the trade. The nature of the maritime state had not changed after they established Srivijaya based on the ocean trade in the middle of the 7th century. The name of polity had changed after Srivijaya to Śailendra and finally San-fo-chi (meaning three Vijayas).

Of course, the hinterland of Funan, there was rice-growing area but Funan did not depend upon the tax from their people for the fiscal revenue. Funan government had sufficient income by foreign trade. But some residents had to be navy soldiers in case of war.

1-1-1.    On land trade route from the ports of the Lower Burma to Oc-Eo.

In the ancient time, at first Funan transported imports from West (mainly India), from the ports of the lower Burma to Oc-Eo in the Mekong Delta by three onland routes.

The first; commodities unloaded at Thaton, Martaban and Moulmein (Mawlamyine) , shipped from the Bengal were carried to Tak via the Mae Sot mountain pass and further transported to Sukhothai or Nakhon Sawan.  This route was historically main route from the Lower Buma to Thailand.

                →(NorthLamphanChiang Mai

Thaton   } Mae SotTak  →(East) Sukhotai

                          →(SouthNakhon SawanSi ThepOc Eo


Moulemein, Martaban }     (Pin River)    AyuthayaGulf of Thailand

                            Menam Chao Phraya Sea


From Tak, cargos were transported using the Pin River and via Ayutthaya, entered the Menam Chaophraya River, and finally carried to the Gulf of Thailand.

From Tak to Nakhon Sawan, then commodities were carried to Si Thep. From Si Thep, the cargoes were carried to Oc-Eo via the Pa Sak, Chi, Mun and Mekong River.

The Menam Chaophraya River was available from Nakhon Sawan to Suphanburi (near U Thong) and the Gulf of Thaialnd.

A classic type of Buddha Footprint is left at Wat Doi Khoi Khao Keao, Tak city, where was an intermediary exchange point between Burma and Thailand. This Footprint suggests Buddhism came to this area through Burma. Probably the Mon people were populous here and accepted and worshiped Buddhism. From Tak to Sukhothai is very near. Theravada Buddhism probably penetrated Sukhotai by this route from Thaton area..


Buddha Footprint of old temple Wat Doi Khoi Kaeo, Tak city, which may be the work of the Mon Buddhist before the 10th century.




Buddha Footprint of Wat Phra Chai Mongkol, Mae Sot, Burma origin


Second route; From Tavoy, which is situated in the south than the first route, western commodities were carried to Kanchanaburi, via the Three Pagodas Pass and were easily transported by using river facitily to Kanchabnaburi. From Kanchanaburi commodities were transported to U Thong, Si Thep then finally to Oc-Eo. It was very long way, but in the 2nd to the 4th century it was usual route. Of course, from Kanchanaburi to Ratchaburi route existed. Ratchaburi faces the Gulf of Thailand, and they could use the sea route.

I suppose from ‘Kanchanaburi U Thong Si Thep The Mekong River’ route was used frequently until the end of 4th century. However, after Funan had developed the trans-peninsula route from Takua Pa to Chaiya, this new route became main, since the 4th century.

Third route: The name, Dun-Sun (頓遜or 典孫), i.e. Tenasserim appears on the Chinese text frequently. Mergui - Tenasserim was very important port, where Great General Fan man (范蔓) occupied in the 3rd century. The Mon people might have used the shortest route to Prachuap Khiri Khan, Hua Hin and Ratchaburi by crossing mountainsSing Khon Pass then they used the Gulf of Thailand.

Funan had a major port Oc-Eo at the Mekong delta. Funan had stocked there the imported commodities from the western countries, such as India, Persia and Arab and sold them to foreign countries especially to China. 

However, the problem was by what kind of route they carried the western goods to Oc-Eo. At the early stage they had transported commodities, as above mentioned, by inland route from the ports of lower Burma by using rivers such as the Chi River and the Mun River in the mainland of Thailand, and they transported to the Mekong River. The Burmese ports were Tenasserim (頓遜), Tavoy, Thaton, Moulmein and etc. It was a very long journey and there were some stock places like U Thong, Nakhon Sawan and Si Thep.

1-1-2. Trans-peninsula route-after Fan Man's conquest)

On the other hand, new method of transporting of imported west goods had been developed since the middle of the 3rd century. Funan used trans-peninsula route from Takua Pa to the port of Chaiya and Surat Thani at the Bay of Bandon.

There was the development of the passage to directly crossing the Bay of Bengal from South India and Ceylon by using the westerly monsoon in the summer time and to arrive at the west coast of the Malay Peninsula, in the 4th century. However, even after the ship arrived at the Malay Peninsula, due to the seasonal head-wind from South, they could not immediately, go down the Strait of Malacca. The merchant ships had to wait for the north-east wind to go down the Malacca Straits for nearly 5-6 months at the harbor on the Malay Peninsula.In this case Kedah was the most popular port.

Therefore, the officials of Funan and the Indian merchants of the Malay Peninsula developed the land transport method to carry the commodities to the east side ports of Peninsula. At that time, Takua Pa to Chaiya was the shortest and a territory of 'Ban-Ban' state, which was governed by the Mon king, but substantially a subordinate state of Funan.

Takua Pa area

Funan people used Takua Pa to Chaiya route, then by ship to Oc-Eo or sometimes directly to China. In frint of Takua Pa, there is the ‘Ko Koh Khao’ Island, in which ‘Thung Tuk’ was the international market place, probably called Ko-ku-lo (哥谷羅) by Chinese.  On the other hand, the rulers of Kedah independently sent their commodities by using the eastern side ports (for instance Kelantan, Songkhla) to China and other countries. At that time Kedah was prosperous by making iron at Sungai Batu.

 In case of Ban-Ban, they can use the more convenient route which carries commodities mainly using small rivers from the west coast (Takua Pa) to the east coast, since the middle of the 4th century. There was a convenient route, starting Khao Phra Narai, then use the Khlong Sok river to ‘Ban Ta Khun’ (near Wat Kraison), and then connected the Phum Dung River to arrive Phun Pin. Khao Si Wichai (Srivijaya hill) is near Phun Pin, Surat Thani, where are remains of several Hindu and Buddhism temples.
At Khao Phra Narai, Indian merchants set up their colonial village, where they built a Vishnu temple. At Khao Si Wichai, Thai excavation team discovered a beautiful Vishnu image.


The Vishnu image is now displayed at the Bangkok National Museum.

Funan further developed the new route from the harbor of Chaiya direct to China. In this case, Ban-Ban became a tributary state since the first ‘South Song (Lieu=劉)’. It is recorded that Ban-Ban sent its first mission during 424-453.

Funan could not have controlled Kedah due to the distance, so Kedah enjoyed significant profit by sending tributary missions to China. There were on-land routes from Kedah to Kelantan, Songkhla. Later, Kedah can use
Satun, a little north port, to unload the goods and carry them to Songkhla. In 441, Kedah sent the first envoy to South Song, under the name of Kan-da-ri (干陀利). Kandari later changed its name in the 6th to 7th century as ‘Chi-To (赤土=Red Earth)’ after merger with Langkasuka.

At first Kedah was recorded as Kola (個羅), Keda(羯茶), Kadaram, Kidaram(Tamil), Kataha(Sanskrit) etc, but it was recorded as Kin-da-ri (斤陀利) or Kan-da-ri(干陀利) in the First South Song (劉氏宋:420-479).  So, Kan-da-ri(干陀利)means Kedah. However, Coedès says Kan-da-ri was located in Sumatra, because the majority of historians say so.
The Ming Shi (
明史, History of Ming Dynasty) says that Kandari was ‘San-fo-chi’. So, Coedès might have thought Kandari was ‘San-fo-chi (=Srivijaya)’, and located at Palembang (Sumatra). As the result, many historians also considered 'Kandari was located in Sumatra'. This seens funny story, but many historians believed so and prevailed in the whole world.

In 441 Kin-da-ri sent the first envoy to the South Song Court. Before then, Kalatan (呵羅単) had sent missions in 430,433,434,436,437. Khalatan looked like the substitute of Kedah. Kedah and Khalatan might have had strong connection on the trade. But, later the kingdom of Khalatan might have some independence which also sent the last envoy in 452, and since 531, and possibly changed its name as ‘Tan-tan (丹丹or 単単)’ which continued until 670. Kelantan had accepted Buddhism very early, probably in the 5th century. In 430 King of Khalatan sent the first mission to the South Song with an official letter, in which stated that in Khalatan Buddhism was prevailing.

Kedah had good port facilities and produced rice in the hinterland, and provided sufficient supplies of food and drinking water, which was convenient for foreign merchants.

At that time in the Malay Peninsula, the Mon people were active in the commerce especially around the Bay of Bandon area, and the west coast. Later the Indian merchants joined them. Funan used the Mons people for the business. In the Old Tang Shu describes that all the people study the Sanskrit and worship Buddhism at Ban Ban. Chaiya area had been very civilized at that time. In the 7th century, normally reading and writing were privilege for a small group of officials and priests.

 The meaning of Indianization

The trade between India (including Bengal) and Thailand (mainland and the peninsula) is estimated to have begun from the time of the Maurya Dynasty of BC 3-4 century. Merchants from India had visited the lower Burma ports, the Malay and Indochina peninsula. Necklace of beads appeared from the 3rd BC century. Furthermore, not only trade purpose, Indian migrants came to the Malay Peninsula and the Sumatra Island to look for gold and tin mine. The Indian merchants have brought trade goods such as cotton clothes and beads of a necklace and pottery, to exchange with food, fragrant wood, gold etc. At the same time, they accompanied Brahman and Buddhist monks, so Hinduism and Buddhism penetrated these regions. Some Indian people settled in Thailand and merged with local people gradually. Indian people brought the technology of agriculture and metal working to the local people.

 The Indian merchants bought silk, craftworks from China and spice and incense in the Southeast Asia and got a big profit by re-exporting them to the Roman Empire, Egypt, Africa and other area.

India got huge gold coins from Rome and the currency changed from ‘the silver standard to the gold standard’ system, thus the demand for gold increased rapidly in India.

Therefore, Indian's gold search fever rose and many Indian adventurers went to Suwarnadvipa (Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula). ‘Suwarnadvipa’ means the golden country, with both sides water. About Suwarnadvipa, there are very many scholars and students of history who understand simply as only island and Sumatra.

The silk load by the seaway’ was much more efficient than so-called ‘the silk load on land’ which depends on the long land route to trade with China. The Indian, Arab and Persian merchants found the sea-route was much easier and more efficient and profitable than transportation with a long caravan of camels.

Also, the Indian merchants came to the Southeast Asia in group and were strong in the fellowship sentiment and they decided many important matters in their group meeting. Therefore, a decision making was done after well discussion among the top leaders about the policy and operation in Funan.

 In case of the Great general Fan Man, he was recommended by the people to take the throne of Funan after the previous kings death. Another example was Chiao Chen-ju (the 2nd Kaundinya, 僑陳如), who was a Brahman staying at Ban-Ban. Amid the political confusion in Funan, he was welcomed by the Funan people and was recommended to be the king of them. He introduced many advanced Indian system to Funan and established the base of development.

There remain few examples of the inscriptions in Funan. It may be the reason that there was not habitude to emphasize the achievements of specific individual. 

In the " Nan-Ji Shu (南斉書)  King Kaundinya Jayavarman(478-514) sent his envoy to the South Ji (南斉) Dynasty in 484the ambassador, an Indian Brahman named Nagasena (那伽仙) explained about the religious situation of Funan.

He explained to the emperor that in Funan the people worship Mahesvara (Siva), and believe that God would come down on the top of the ‘sacred mountain Meruand people believe under this God, the climate is always good, and the peaceful life is guaranteed.

Therefore, the king found a suitable sacred mountain every time he transferred his capital. In the Angkor times, the king constructed a high tower on the pyramid, he chose there as Meru mountain and the people worshipped it as ‘the center axis’ of the universe.

Dr. Naojirou Sugimoto says that the Funan seems to have selected a mountain at ‘Ba Phnom’ (Sugimoto, p376). However, it doesn't seem to have been originally a capital city of Funan. It seems that Angkor Borei (Phnom Da) was the original metropolis, judging from the numerous ruins and the geographical conditions. At Angkor Borei and Phnom Da, there are many Hindu images and remains. Vishu images were spread from Angkor Borei to the Bay of Bandon and other regions.


1-2 Religion

Worship of the ancestral spirit and animism was a pre-Hindu practice of South East Asia. To this was newly added the worship of Hinduism and deified kings. Kings willingly introduced Hinduism. From migrated Indian Brahman and Ksatria class, who came into this area as the leaders of Indian merchants introduced Hinduism first and often married daugters of local kings. Buddhism came later and penetrated mainly into the Mon people.

It will be permitted to say that the 'Meru mountain' worship was brought into Funan as Siva belief from the beginning, and the ancestor-worship and the Hinduism seem to be connected among the common people.

On the other hand, for Funan, the Mahayana Buddhism was introduced among the leaders and the popularization of the Buddhism was beginning in the 4th century. Probably the Mahayanist Buddhism was introduced from Ban-Ban state, which was worshipped since the early time of the history brought by Indian merchants and priests. Ban-Ban was the subordinate state of Funan since the 3rd century after the conquest of General Fan Man and the communication between the both states were quite usual and frequent.

The penetration of Buddhism to the Malay Peninsula was very early. There are many primitive ‘Buddha Footprints’ in the Peninsula. From Chumpon, Takua Pa, Krabi, Trang, Chaiya, Nakon si Thammarat etc. The ancient and primitive type Buddha Footprints were just directly chiseled on natural rocks.

Buddha Footprints at Wat Kraison (in the middle of Takua Pa and Chaiya)

‘Ban-Ban’ was the most advanced Buddhist state in the Malay Peninsula where many Indian merchants were coming in and some Hindu Brahmans and Buddhist monks also came in. The kings accepted them and supported them. At first Buddhism seems to spread among the local Mon people.

In this area, Buddha Footprint which only engraved a footmark of Buddha on the natural rock, were introduced by Indian monks. Before the 2nd century, the Buddha images were not popular even in India, or prohibited to make the image, so Buddhist monks in the Malay Peninsula made Buddha Footprint for the worship

Trade relation between Ban-Ban (under Funanand Indian traders was strengthened since the 3rd century,especially after the conquest of Fan Man , the trade relation of Funan and India established direct business relation. At Takua Pa, Ban-Ban was the sole buyer of the western goods, and the people of Ban Ban (mostly the Mon) became intimate with Indian merchants and monks.

Owing to the international trade, Ban-Ban had been opened earlier and many Indians came in. So, Ban-Ban was much advanced as for the penetration of Buddhism. On the other hand, Buddhism in Funan was stimulated by the Buddhism heat in China. So, leaders of Funan were affected from both sides, Ban Ban and China. Buddhism surged in Ban-Ban, where more than ten Buddhism temples were constructed and more than 1,000 monks were studying Buddhism in the territory. Once the leaders of Funan knew Buddhism, many of them were attracted by the depth of the philosophy of Buddhism and became devotees of Buddhism. Later Mahayana Buddhism becaome the ‘stete religion’ of Srivijaya group.

The Mahayanist Buddhism became the common philosophical basics of the leaders of Funan and Srivijaya. The last king of Funan, Rudravarman was known as a Buddhist. However, Chenla kings believed in Saivaism and hated Buddhism as Yi-Jing wrote.

Later, in Srivijaya regime, Mahayanist Buddhism became popular in the states Srivijaya dominated. The typical example was the Śailendra kingdom in the central Jawa where the Borobudur temple was built which is the biggest Mahayana temple in the world. Jambi also constructed huge Mahayana Buddhism complex, even now ‘Muaro Jambi’ remains out side of Jambi city.

1-3 Funan regime

As mentioned above in case of the succession of the King, Funan often selected the king on the recommendation of the national leaders, instead of the lineage of the king. In the 5th century, after turmoil among Funan, Brahman Chiao Chen-ju (the 2nd Kaundinya, 僑陳如) came from outside (via Ban-Ban), who was recommended to take the throne by the Funan people.

In the 3rd century, Great General Fan-(shi)-Man was a superior strategist of genius and made the plan to monopolize procurement of western goods, then he organized the navy which consists of large-sized rowing boats to secure a trade route ( purchasing and transporting the western goods) in Funan, and captured several main trade harbors one after another and put them under Funans control.

King Fan-shou 范尋) king sent mission to the Western Jin's, Emperor Wu-di's first year ( 265 ).

After that, King Fan-shou had continued sending 4 envoys to the Western Jin until 287.

 There is a record that  in 357 king Chu Chan-tan (竺旃檀)sent tribute of elephants to Emperor Bok to the Eastern Jin Dynasty.

The Emperor, at that time 15 years old, was frightened and shown a straight uncomfortable feeling and ordered the envoy not to bring such an animal again because it is astonishing people and need so much attention to breed.  (梁書、The Liang Shu)

King Chu () means an Indian origin, Chan-tan (旃檀) means ‘Chandana’. After this trouble, Funan could not have sent the mission for a long time. The next chance was in 389. After this, Funan sent next envoy in 434 to the South Song Dynasty.

On the other hand, Linyi had sent 7 envoys in the 4th century. As the importer of the western commodities Funans position was superior to Linyi’s, but Funan could not send mission to China. During that time, it is said there was severe political confusion in Funan. So, Funan rulers had arranged to send mission from Ban-Ban at the same time, they invited Chiao Chen-ju (the 2nd Kaundinya, 僑陳如) as their king.

 According to Chinese records dating from the 3rd century CE, beginning with the Sānguó zhì 三國志 (Records of the Three Kingdoms) completed in AD 289 by Chen Shou 陳壽 (233297), two envoys from Funan arrived at the office of Lu Dai (呂岱), governor in the southern Chinese kingdom of Wú (): the first embassy arrived between 225 and 230, the second in the year 243.

Later sources such as the Liang Shu 梁書 ( Liang History) ompiled by Yao Cha 姚察 (533606) and Yao Silian 姚思廉 (~ 637), completed in 636, says that the mission of the 3rd-century Chinese envoys Kang-Tai (康泰) and Zhu-Ying (朱應) from the Wu Dynasty were sent to Funan. The writings of these envoys, though no longer extant in their original condition, were excerpted and partly preserved in the later dynastic histories. Fortunately we can know much about Funan from them.

When the governor Lu Dai (呂岱)as in his position, the chief of Chiao-chi (交趾) Tongking) province, a local Ri-nan(日南) chief Shi-Shaw (士燮)died.  His son, Shi Hui (士徽)was appointed to the chief of Jiu Zhen(九真), but he wanted to stay at his fathers place and position and rebelled against Lu Dai, who was the governor of Chiao-chi (222-252) of the Wu Dynasty, staying at Guangdong.

Lu Dai had sent strong army and crushed the rebel and Shi family. Lu Dais victory established reign in the south of the Wu Dynasty and he was assigned to the general of ‘Conqueror of South’.

After returning, Kang Tai wrote two reports, ‘Foreign Aspect(外国伝)’ and the ‘Funan Local Custom(扶南土俗)' after returning home and the original texts were lost, but, some have been quoted in the ‘Tai Ping Yu Lan(太平御覧)’ (compiled by Lee Feng李昉, of the Northern Song Dynasty, compiled around 980). volume 787, also in neighboring countries, says that there is description about Zhu Bo (諸薄=Jawaand we can recognize the various situations of its neighboring states.

The Indian merchants traded by using the west ports such as Thaton, Thavoy, Tenasserim, Takua Pa, Krabi and Kedah. Kedah had been also a big city of its iron products since BC 500.  Recently at ‘Sungai Batu’, near Bujan Valley, Kedah city, large remains of iron-making have been found and excavation work is now going.

The main Indian side port was Tamralipiti of Bengal. In the winter time, they came down from the Bengal area and their main commodities ware cotton cloth and beads. The Persian merchants, too, came to the ports of Burma. They traded mainly with the Mon speaking people and local Indian merchants. The Persian merchants directly visited China with tribute.

In the mainland of Thailand, the Mon people had lived and were engaged in commerce, rice farming, making bronze, iron and salt. Their activities were spread into Isaan area (North-eastern Thailand) and Laos. They, at first accepted Hinduism then Buddhism. All over the inner land, there remains many old Buddha Footprints as the symbol of Buddhism worship. 

After Funan was formed, at first, commodities from the west were carried overland to the intermediary bases, such as U Thong and Si Thep in the inner Thailand, before transported to the Mekong delta.

Some commercial cities had existed since the Bronze Age. Along the trade routes and the network of salt, iron, Dongson bronze drums were discovered. The major residents were the Mon speaking people and some were Khmer.

The group of Indian merchants who came later there had settled in the cities and villages. With advanced technology and knowledge, those Indian people taught residents how to cultivate rice and make metal tools, iron making method and so on. With passing through the time, Indian became rulers in the city. The examples were U Thong and Si Thep (Sri Deva), where they first introduced Hinduism and later Buddhism.

Photo; Left is U Thong, Right is Si Thep

The cargos which were unloaded at Tenasserim and Tavoy, on the Burma coast were carried to Kanchanaburi through the Three Pagodas Pass. This route had existed from the Neolithic era.

At Kanchanaburi, where was the halfway point of the route. there are ruins from the ancient times,’Prast Muang Sing’, which was used as stock place, Buddhist temple and fortress. At the age of the Angkor Dynasty it was expanded and fortified. Kanchanaburi faces the river Maeklong which passes Ratchaburi Province and empties into the Gulf of Thailand in Samut Songkhram

1-3-1. Si Thep

Si Thep used to be called ‘Sri Deva’ or ‘Srideb’ meaning of the’Shrine city’, where was full of Hindu shrines and the images of Hindu Gods, such as Surya, Krishna, Vishnu and Siva. The Pasak river flows nearby Si Thep and flows Lopburi and empties into the Gulf of Thailand via Ayutthaya.

Also, Si Thep people can connect with the Mekong River via the ‘Chi’ and ‘Mun River’. The city was located at the most important point of the traffic, where Funan group had governed since the 2nd century. The early rulers of Si Thep believed in Hinduism. On the other hand, local residents mostly the Mon people, at first accepted Hinduism, but later later, probably since the 9th century changed to Buddhism.

Judging from the scale of the ruins, Si Thep was a very big city enclosed in the moat. Historically Si Thep had been prosperous as the commercial city of the Mon people, who generally worshipped Buddhism and built giant pagodas in the city. There is Buddhist temple ruins of the Dvaravati style too, and a huge ‘Dharma-cakra’ is placed in the center of the historical park.
Dharma-cakra of Si Thep

There were several copper ores mines in the northeast area of Thailand and the refinement of copper had been done from BCE, and the trade and circulation of the metallic artifact was quite active in the region.

Also, in the northeast Thailand, a salt making, too, was done simultaneously with iron manufacturing. Generally speaking the northeast area in Thailand (now called Isaan) had been very prosperous compared with south of the Dangrek Mountains, todays Cambodia. 

Dr. Q Wales supposed that cargos unloaded at Tavoy in the lower Burma were carried to Kanchanaburi and further to U Thong and Si Thep. They were transported to Nakhon Sawan, then to Si Thep. There was still a long journey via the Chi River and the Mun River and the Mekong River and the final destination was Oc-Eo port. It is sure that it depended on the rivers for the main transportation in those days, but many roads which connected river to river existed.



Chapter 2 Shi-li-fo-shi (Srivijaya)

2-1 Shi-li-fo-shi was located in the Malay Peninsula

As above mentioned, Shi-li-fo-shi was located in the Malay Peninsula. Coedès made wrong interpretation of the Kedukan Bukit Inscription. Srivijaya conquered the kingdom of Palembang in 683AD, butShi-li-fo-shi had been founded before in the Malay Peninsula. The location of Shi-li-fo-shi had been clearly identified as above mentioned, by the Xin (New) Tang Shu that the west of Shi-li-fo-Shi was the Nicobar Islands, meaning Shi-li-fo-shi was located in the Malay Peninsula. No historians have understood this sentence, except Dr. Rokuro Kuwata. In the Malay Peninsula, Shi-li-fo-shi has only one candidate. That is Chaiya. Nakhon Si Thammarat was not so developed in the 7th century.

Furthermore few historians identified the exact location of ‘Luo-Yue (
羅越)’ and ‘Ko-ku-lo (哥谷羅)’.  They say Luo-Yue was Johore, near Singapore, however Luo-Yue is located at northern part of the Malay Peninsula.   Ko-ku-lo is a major port of the west coast of Peninsula and is located at north of Kedah. Kho Khao Island is the outer port of Takua Pa.

In case of Luo-Yue, most historians had misunderstood the marine-route of ‘Jia-Dan (賈耽), quoted in the Xin Tang Shu,  so they had no other choice than Johore. However, this identification is contradicted. The Xin Tang Shuwrites correctly about this matter. I will explain as follows:

2-2 Marine-route of Jia-Dan(賈耽)

The Xin Tang-Shu has the geographical articles in which Jia-Dans sea route map is quoted. Jia-Dan was prime minister of the Tang Court around 800.

After five days journey from the Con Dao Island, one reaches a strait which the barbarians call Zhi (), and which is 100 li from south to north. On its northern shore is the kingdom of Luo-Yue, on its southern shore the kingdom of Fo-shi (Srivijaya). Some four or five days journey over the water to the eastward of Fo-shi is the kingdom of Kha-ling, the largest island in the south. Then, emerging from the strait, in three days one reaches the kingdom of Ko-ko-seng-chih, which is situated on another island off the north-west corner of Fo-shi. The inhabitants are mostly pirates. Sailors on junks go in dread of them.  On the northern shore of the strait is the kingdom of Ko-lo. To the west of Ko-lo is the kingdom of Ko-ku-lo.


In this case, ‘Chi ()’ is generally interpreted selat(straitin Malay language), and supposed to be the Singapore Strait. However, the Singapore Strait is too narrow, less than 10 km width. 100li means about 40 kilometers. Furthermore selat has three meanings, strait narrow and sound (bay). But in this case, selat is not correct reading, Chi might be a proper name of a certain place. I understand Chi means a 'S(r)i Surat'=Surat Thani, the Bay of Bandon, of which mouth is about 40 kilometers from north to south. If Chi is identified as the Singapore Strait (), the location of Luo-Yue (羅越) must be Johore at the south end of the Malay Peninsula. And the location of Shih-li-fo-shi may be the Riau Islands far from Sumatra, but many historians ignored actual distance between Sumatra and Riau. This hypothesis is a convenient story for Palembang theory. However, Luo-Yue cannot be Johore. In the Tang times, Johore was not developed so much as to be an emporium for neighboring states.

Jia-Dan says from Chi (), one can go to Kha-ling (訶陵国) after 4-5 days journey. In this case, Kha-ling means the middle of the Malay Peninsula, probably ‘Sathing Phra’, a major port of Srivijaya. Then one goes down further and crosses the Singapore Strait to the west, within three days, one can arrive at Ko-ko-seng-chih (葛葛僧祇國), which is unidentified, but possibly an island of Malayu, near Jambi. Chi () is apparently different from the Singapore Strait ().

 We should be free from prejudice that Kha-ling was in the Java island only. Since the middle of the 8th century to the 9th century, Kha-ling had represented the ‘whole Srivijaya’ as Sailendra kingdom. Apparently, officials of the Tang Court acknowledged that a part of the Malay Peninsula belonged to Kha-ling, which was used as the shipping port to Tang. The expression was correct or not, such views were inherited by the writers of The Xin Tang-Shu in the Song times.

 The Tang Court probably considered the territory of Shih-li-fo-shi covered from a part of the Malay Peninsula including Kedah to the southern part of Sumatra such as Malayu, Jambi and Palembang. Ho-lo (Ko-la=箇羅) is Kedah. Ko-la, Kalah and Kadaram are all similar words.

Ko-ku-lo (哥谷羅) is not formally identified yet, but I suppose it means the Kho Khao Island. The Kho Khao Island is located just in front of Takua Pa and its ‘Thung Tuk’ was the market place for international merchants. QuaritchWales found out remains of old entrepôt.  ‘Ko-ku-lo is located at the Malay Peninsula, the position of Luo-Yue should be northern part of the Peninsula. Furthermore the residents in Luo-Yue were similar to Dvaravati people (Mon tribe), so Luo-Yue cannot be Johore. Lou-Yue (羅越) probably had the territory across the root of the Malay Peninsula facing the Bengal Bay, and the northward was sea water to Bengal

There is another description in the Xin Tang-Shu, The northward from Luo-Yue is 5,000 li sea water, and the south-west is Ko-ku-lo (哥谷羅). According to the Jia-Dans explanation of the map, Lou-Yue(羅越) is located at northern direction of Ko-ku-lo (哥谷羅)=Ko Koh Khao Island. So, Johore is completely the wrong direction.

The Xin Tang-Shu says that traders from various directions gather around Lou-Yue.  The customs of the resident of Lou-Yue are same as those of Dvaravati (the Mons). Every year, the merchant-ship of Lou-Yue comes to Canton and reports to the local officials. So, I consider that the location of Lou-Yue was near the mainland of Thailand and the upper north of the Malay Peninsula, near Ratchaburi to Tenasserim.


As the conclusion, Jia-Dans itinerary map is not accurate, so flexible interpretation by readers is needed. However many historians easily decide Chi () means strait so that it is the Strait of Singapore. They have been in haste to connect everything to Palembang. I understand ‘Chi’s the proper name of location, near the Bay of Bandon. It is probably ‘Si Surat=Surat Thani’.

As the identification of Luo-Yue, Ratburi (Ratchaburi) may be the proper location. Ratburi has huge historical remains, and is considered once big emporium which had port facilities on the west coast as well as on the east coast, facing the Gulf of Thailand. Historically Ratburi had been under control of Funan, because the Bay of Thai (Siam) was dominated by Funans and later by Srivijayas navy. As Dr. Toyohachi Fujita suggested, Ko-lo-she-fen (哥羅舎分)may be Ratchaburi. Fen (Bun=) is apparently buri (town) and Lo-she should be pronounced as Ra-cha. Ko () is meaningless prefix. Ko-ku-lo (哥谷羅) is located at Takua Pa, which is also, intermediary market place for the international merchants.

According to the ‘Tong-Dian(通典)’, compiled by Du-You(杜祐) in 801, Ko-lo-she-fen (or Kha-la sha-bun) is situated in the southern part of the South Seas. It adjoins the kingdom of To-ho-lo (or Da-wa-la 堕和羅). It can put 20,000 soldiers in the field. In the fifth year of the Xian Qing (顕慶) of the Tang(660), King Pu-yue-jia-ma (蒲越伽摩) sent envoys to tribute.


According to the ’ Ce-fu Yuan-Gui (冊府元亀)’, the ambassador of Ko-lo-she-fen left their port in 659 and arrived to the Tang Court in 662. This fact means the ambassador took the course of the Malacca Strait. Around 660s, the Bay of Thailand had been under control of Ban Ban (Pan-pan) and former Funans navy, so Ko-lo-she-fen could not use the Bay of Thailand, the shortest course to China



 The Tang Court probably considered the territory of Shi-li-fo-shi covered from a part of the Malay Peninsula including Kedah to the southern part of Sumatra such as Malayu, Jambi and Palembang. Ho-lo (Ko-la=箇羅) is Kedah. Ko-ku-lo (哥谷羅) is the Kho Khao Island (Ko Kho Khao) just in front of Takua Pa.

G.Coedès had ‘good’ intention to discuss the Srivijaya history from the perspective of East-West trade history, but he put the midpoint of East-West trade at the ‘Sunda Strait’. This is improper, because the Jawa Island is not adequate to be intermediary to trade with China. The Malay Peninsula was more convenient as intermediary ports, by using the ‘trans-peninsula’ route.

 Academics who have achieved excellent track records in the field such as archeology are numerous, but their conclusion is often wrong, because they stick to the ‘Srivijaya hyphothesis’ of G.Coedès. For example, all the Buddhists monks from India had visited Sumatra instead of the Malay Peninsula. Many historians believe that Yi-Jing visited Palembang before he went to Kedah and Tamuralipiti. That is improper by considering the location of ‘Mulayu’, furthermore Palembang had been poor infrastructure for studying Buddhism and Sanskrit. As the result, most historians had ignored the importance of the Malay Peninsula, even Paul Weatley put the capital of Srivijaya at Palembang.

 The ancient history of Southeast Asia had gone to the wrong side owing to the followers of G.Coedès. Most historians do not aware that they are in the dark and wandering in the labyrinth. I have written in my book "The History of Srivijaya"(Japanese) and how G.Coedès had repeated serious mistakes. I suppose he had not read the Xin Tang Shu in the Chinese text or ignored its contents

2-3 Java (闍婆) often meant the Malay Peninsula before the Song times

In the early 5th century, a prominent Chinese Buddhist monk Fa-xian (法顕) also recorded that after he had started from Ceylon, the tempest continued day and night. After thirteen day's torture, the ship was carried to an island, where they repaired the leak, the ship started again to the eastern direction.

After nine to ten days they arrived at ‘Yaba-dvipa (耶馬提).’ Many historians consider Yaba-dvipa’ is the Jawa Island or Sumatra. However, in this case, ships could not go down the Malacca Straits due to the summer time head wind (monsoon) from south to north. So, the merchant ships must wait for the north-east wind until winter for nearly half of a year. Fa-xian wrote, he waited at Yaba-dvipa for five months. It was unavoidable waste of time. In this case Yaba-dvipa was the Malay Peninsula, probably Kedah or Takua Pa. The word ‘Java (闍婆)’ written in the Tang text means mostly the Malay Penisula.

 In the Song Shu (宋書), history of First South Song (420-479) writes “呵羅單國治闍婆洲 In the Song Shu (宋書), history of First South Song (420-479) writes “呵羅單國治闍婆洲 This means that Kalatan (呵羅単) governs ‘Jawa’, but Kalatan was located in the Malay Peninsula, todays Kelantan. So, Khalatan state could not have governed the Jawa Island. It was a simple exaggeration of the king of Kalatan. Actually, Khalatan was located in the Peninsula (Kelantan state, Malaysia) and governed some neighboring area. Possibly some ports were under control of Khalatan state at that time. In Khalatan, Buddhism was flourishing according to the Song Shu. A classic ‘Buddha footprint’ carved on a natural large stone exists at Buchon, Kota Bharu city and smaller 4 primitive Buddha Footprints exist at Burit Mara.

There are many primitive Buddha Footprints in Thailand, especially Peninsula area, Takua Pa, Krabi, Chiya etc.  However, in Indonesia there is no Buddha Footprints except at the Karimun Island in front of Singapore. In the ancient time, the Karimun Island provided intermediary port facility for foreign ships and some Indian merchants (Buddhists) might have lived there.
A classic ‘Buddha footprint’ at Kelantan

‘The ancient history of Southeast Asia’ cannot be written perfectly if a historian depends upon the hypotheses of Coedès. If you begin with relying on the Palembang hypothesis of Coedès, you can't write the true history of Southeast Asia. Now it is confirmed, by the above description of the Xin (New) Tang-Shu that Srivijaya was located in the Malay Peninsula. It was certainly located at the Bay of Bandon. The rulers of Funan exiled or defected to Ban-Ban state with their navy, in the middle of the 6th century. Afterward they had integrated the Malay Peninsula and established a polity of ‘Srivijaya (Shi-li-fo-shi)’ Srivijaya had sent the first tributary mission to the Tang Court in 670. After that Srivijaya expanded itself to the Straits of Malacca and the Jawa island (kingdom of Kha-ling) to monopolize the tributary mission, or the trade with Tang Dynasty from the Southeast Asia.

At present, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam are separated by the border but in the ancient history the concept of the border had been obscure and different.

The activity of Funan had been, so flexible, so many historians cannot follow up the description of the Xin Tang-Shu and other text. The history of Chenla is also very confused, because many historians consider that  Chenlas activity had started from within the territory of Todays Cambodia and the Mekong River side (Wat Phu or Vat Phou).

The territory of Funan covered very wide, from the west coast of the lower Buma to the central Part of Thailand, U Thong, Nakhon Sawan, Si Thep and the Chi River, the Mun River and the Mekong River.

The Angkor Dynasty had been established in 802 when King Jayavarman II formally ascended the throne, and until Sulyavarman I, the regime had been under the influence of Srivijaya for nearly 250 years. After Sutyavarman Is death in 1050, the new independent family from Phimai region took over the reign. During this period, the Angkor Kingdom had been influenced by Srivijaya. The Mahayana Buddhism expanded widely and became popular religion in Cambodia.

After I had written "The History of Srivijaya" and probably I succeeded to connect some of the key points of the missing links of the history. I should come back to the history of Funan and Chenla. However still there are many problems unsolved. For instance, who was Jayavarman II, and why the Angkor Kingdom had not sent mission to China for more than 300 years?


2-4. A Short History of Srivijaya

The history of Funan in Cambodia was once finished after the invasion of Chenla. However, Funan took different course of history. Around 530, the Funan rulers were kicked out from the Mekong Delta area. Where did they go?  Coedès thinks they fled to the Jawa Island where they founded the kingdom Srivijaya. However, in the central Jawa, there had existed a strong kingdom called ‘Kha-ling(訶陵)’by Chinese. Funan and Kha-ling had been competitors as trade states, as ‘vassal’ states of China.

It was impossible for Funan rulers to conquer Kha-ling kingdom of Jawa with small army. My hypothesis is that the rulers of Funan fled to ‘Ban-Ban (
盤盤)state’  located at the Bay of Bandon, Surat Thani area. The Ban-Ban state had been a subordinate state of Funan since the 3rd century, after the Great General Fan-(shi)-man conquered there. Funan had used Ban-Ban as the trade route of the western commodities imported at Takua Pa, on the west coast and transported them to the east coast of Chaiya area. Funan rulers continued the tribute mission to Tang from Chaiya. Moreover, Funan had used Ban Ban as its substitute to tribute to Tang since 5th century.

According to the ‘Tong Dian(=通典), compiled by Du You (杜祐)in 801, Ban Ban (媻媻 or盤盤) had weak army and their arrow-head is equipped with ‘stone’, even though the head of lance is made of iron sword. Ban Ban had been probably forced by Funan to have weak military. At Ban Ban, Buddhism was popular and there are more than 1,000 monks with 10 temples for the ordinary monks and one upper class temple for senior monks. Furthermore, the common people were studying the Sanskrit language.
Ban Ban's economic and strategic value was so great, so Funan had changed the nature of Ban Ban as its subordinate state for the international trade.

Even though Funan had lost its base at the Mekong Delta in the middle of the 6th century, the Xin Tang Shu says that Funan sent missions two times, in 'Wu-Di (618-26) and Zhen-Guan (627-49) times. Funan presented two white head men, who were captured at the west border of Funan.
 武德、貞觀時,再入朝,又獻白頭人二. Furthermore, according to the” Ce-fu Yuan-Gui (冊府元亀) in 643, king of Linyi (Champa) asked the Emperor for assistance to stop the attack from Funan.
After appeal of Linyi, Funan kept silence. Funan was preparing the next step to form Shi-li-fo shi (Srivijaya). Funan merged Chi-tu (
赤土) early 7th century. Then Funan changed its name as Shi-li-fo-sh (室利佛逝), and sent its first ambassador to Tang in 670. Actually, Funan was alive and active after they had been expelled by Chenla 100 years before and established a new state Shi-li-fo-sh (室利佛逝). However, no historian has recognized this fact, but considered the the Xin Tang Shu is mistaken and unreliable

Before Tang, after 530, Funan sent tributary missions to the Liang () Dynasty in 535,543 and to the Chen () Dynasty in 559, 572 and 588. Funan had apparently survived after 530.


According to the
Xin Tang Shu, Funan was located 7,000li (2,800km) south of Ri-nan (日南). People are same as Huan wang (環王=Linyi) with black color skin and have similar custom (Khmer). When king goes out, he rides on the elephant. Paddy can be cropped three times a year. Tax is paid by gold, precious stone and incense. King's palace is rather humble and the royal family had surnamed 'ku-run =古龍’which sounded 'kunrun=崑崙'. The word "Kunrun (崑崙)is unique in the Chinese and Southeast Asian people do not call themselves ‘Kunrun’ . 'Kurun' means 'King' in Cambodia language, for instance 'Kurun bnam' means 'King of mountain'. The original capital was ‘Temu (特牧城), after sudden attack by Chenla, Funan changed the capital to ‘Na-Fu-Na (那弗那)’. In the Tang times, Funan sent two missions.

The status of Ban-Ban used to be the subordinate state of Funan, completely under control of Funan.  After setting up the headquarter at the Bay of Bandon, Funan rulers had continued international trade not only with China but also their vicinities. Funan had the trade strategy to monopolize the tributary mission to China, and integrated the Malay Peninsula at first.

M. Vickery says Chenla merged Funan peacefully in Camodia. He says there is the inscription K53 Inscription (667), which tells there was kings minister's family which had worked for Funan and Chenla Dynasty for 4-5 generations (Vickery, Toyo, p 41). Of course, such cases might be, but majority of rulers of Funan excavated to Ban Ban beforehand.

On the other hand, there is 'Han-Chey' inscription, at Kompong Cham, which tells us Bhavavarman after chasing fleeing the enemy(Funan) princes and cruelly killed them all. After the victory, he dispatched the group of musicians advocating the victory. Without doubt, there existed battle between Chenla and Funan. The two inscriptions on the inner door pillars of the old brick sanctuary at Hanchey, just above Kompong Cham on the Mekong, were among the first discovered. Certainly, some of the royal family members of Funan were killed brutally by Chenla.

25  Disappearance of Funan and establishment of Shi-li-fo-shi

Funan of old Mekong area once disappeared at the middle of the 6th century, the neighboring states started sending tributary missions to China. Because the controlling power of Funan once diminished, and the sudden freedom was given to Langkasuka, Dvaravathi, Kandari and Chi-tu.

Exiled Funan (Ban Ban) merged Chi-tu (
赤土=Red Earthprobably before the middle of the 7th century, and established a new polity Shi-li-fo-shi(室利佛逝). Chi-tu was former Kan-da-ri (干陀利), of which major ports were Kedah and Songkhla in both sides of Malay Peninsula.

Shi-li-fo-shi is explained in the "Xin Tang Shu"
that East-West, width is 1000li, and length from North to South is 4000 li. Number of their states (subordinate) is 14. The country is divided by 2(二國分総) to govern it. Shi-li-fo-shi was a long narrow country, so probably the east side (facing the Gulf of Thailand) was governed by Chaiya, and the west side was governed by Kedah, which faces the Strait of Malacca.

Srivijaya wanted to control the whole Malacca Straits and sent navy to Melayu, Jambi, Palembang and the Bangka Island. In 683, Srivijaya occupied Palembang and left there the ‘Kedukan Bukit’ inscription. In 686, Srivijaya gathered the fleet at the Bangka Island, and started invasion to Kha-ling kingdom in the central Java. The commander was Dapunta Selendra (Śailendra), and they easily defeated Kha-ling, of which capital was Pekalongan. The commander left one simple inscription at Sojometo village. In this time, the territory of Srivijaya became the largest in its history. Srivijaya established ‘Śailendra kingdom’ in the central Jawa, however they had not destroyed ‘Old Kha-ling(Sanjaya) kingdom. They co-existed in the central Jawa, Śailendra was probably in charge of navy and trade, and Sanjaya in charge of domestic administration.  Śailendra sent the tributary mission in 768 to Tang, under the name of ‘Kha-ling (訶陵)’. It is another mystery why Srivijaya took such action? It is because Srivijaya afraid the Tang Court regulation to prohibit the conflict of among the vassal states. So, Sailendra had to used the name of ‘Kha-ling’ to conceel the fact of conquering Sanjaya (old Kha-ling).


2-6 Tributary states to China, near the Malay Peninsula

Paul Wheatley says:
"On the dissolution of the Funanese empire, its successor, Chenla, possibly because of its continental origin, failed to consolidate its supremacy over the Malay Peninsula, whereupon the former dependencies in that region hastened to establish their autonomy by dispatching embassies to the Imperial Court of China". (P. Wheatley, p 289).

Indeed some new states came up to China, after the middle of the 6th century, however every state might have failed to 'establish their autonomy'. Chenla could not dominate the sea-faring, so they could not send envoys by sea for long time.

P. Wheatley picks up some examples:
"At present there are notices of only four kingdoms. Judging by the records still extant it is probable that the Sui (
隋)annalist was here referring to P'an-p'an (Ban Ban), Ch'ih-t'u (Chi-tu), Tan-tan(Khalatan) and Ko-lo(Kedah)” (P. Wheatley, p 289).

Of course, ‘Ban Ban’ was substantially exiled Funan itself.
P.Wheatley forgets two more kingdoms,
Langkasuka(狼牙須国) and Dvaravati (堕和羅鉢底). He does not understand the whole situation of the Malay Archipelago.

① Dvaravati (堕和羅鉢底):583(頭和),627-49,638, 640, 643, 649, 

 Tan Tan(丹丹): 535, 571, 581, 585, 616 ,666(単単), 670.

  Chi-tu (赤土):608, 609, 610.
Kandari (
干陀利: 441, 455, 472, 502, 518, 520, 563.

④  Langkasuka狼牙須国:515, 523, 531, 568.Later, merged with Kandari

 Ban Ban (盤盤):423-53, 455, 457-64, 527, 529, 532, 534, 542, 551, 571, 584, 616, 633, 635, 641, 648, 650-55.
Shi-li-fo-shi (
室利佛逝)670-673, 701, 716, 724, 727, 741.

1. Chi-tu is the former Kandari and probably merged Langkasuka.
2.Shi-li-fo-shi is the former Ban Ban and merged Chi-tu, and Tan Tan. After 670, Shi-li-fo-shi became the sole country sending envoys to Tang from the Malay Peninsula.

 2-6-1 Langkasuka (狼牙須国)

Langkasuka country (currently Nakhon-Si-Thammarat) first made tribute in 515, 523 and 531 and 568. Langkasuka got the information of Funan’s inner conflict over the succession trouble. They started sending mission in 515, total 4times. (Rudravarman usurpation,514 years). Lankasuka is Ban Ban's neighbor so they can get early information. Probably they caught the information of Funan's trouble and took the quick action to send an envoy to China. Later Langkasuka might have been merged with Kandari (干陀利)at the end of the 6th century, and formed 'Chi-tu'.

The contemporary theory that Langkasuka was Pattani, is an obvious mistake. Without doubt, Langkasuka was today's Nakhon Si Thammarat. The evidence is the Sui Shu which records:
" Yang-di (
煬帝)sent 'Chan-Jun (常駿)as a special envoy to ‘Red Earth (Chi-Tu)’, and he reported that after passed the Condor Island, 2 days later he saw a high mountain toward the west direction”. It is a land-mark of Langkasuka, behind Nakhon Si Thammarat. There is Mt.(Khao) Luang (1820m), which is the highest mountain in the region. Unfortunately, at Pattani there is no mountain at all.
Curiously, many Thailand's modern historians believe that Pattani is Langkasuka. The western historians made up such a story and many Thai people still believe it. The
(諸蕃志)” is often referred as the reason of Langkasuka's Patani theory. But the author Chao Ju Kua (趙如适) did not use the same script as the Sui Shu. Sui Shu 's Lankasuka is 狼牙須国、but Zhu-fan-zhi's Lankasuka is 凌牙斯加. Furthermorein Zhu-fan-zhi,  Patani is quoted as ‘抜沓(Pa-Ta)’.

The Liang Shi says that Langkasuka opened the country in the 2nd century. But the successor of the king was weak, so the strong royal family succeeded the throne. 

Possibly Langkasuka started the foreign trade in the 2nd century, and its import ports were Krabi, Phuket and Trang at the west coast of the Malay Peninsula.

2-6-2  Dvaravati(堕和羅鉢底)

 The Mon people had founded their own kingdom around the Lower Burma and the inner Thailand and Peninsula, called Dun-Sun (頓遜=Tenasserim), Lou-Yue (羅越) and Dvaravati (投和、獨和羅、堕和羅鉢底). Genarally speaking they were rather independent from Funanese direct rule.

 In the kingdom of Dvaravati, Thaton was an important seaport on the Gulf of Martaban, for trade with India and Sri Lanka, and Tenasserim was one of major ports of the Mon people (Dvaravati). However, around the 6th and the 7th century, several Mon states seem to have sent missions to China.

According to the Chinese Chronicles, Tou-wa(投和)sent its envoy to the Chen () Dynasty in 583, and Ratchaburi(加羅舎分)sent the mission Sui () in 608 and Tang in 662. Dvaravati (堕和羅、獨和羅、堕和羅鉢底) appeared in 627, 638, 640, 643 and 649. However, they stopped sending mission after the establishment of Shi-li-fo-shi (Srivijaya) before 670.
After Great General Fan-man of Funan had captured this place first in the 3rd century and Funan had dominated the region, but probably given some freedom for non-official trade with China.

Sinse the 3rd century, Dun-Sun (頓遜=Tenasserim) seems to be the one big territory which extends over the side of the Bay of Thailand from the side of Burma. Dun-Sun means ‘five small kingdoms’ in the old Mon language.

From the northern part of the Malay Peninsula to the Gulf of Martaban, the Mon people had dominated and lived. Prachoup Kiri Khan, Petchaburi, Ratchaburi, Nakhon Pathom and Lopburiin in Thailand and the lower Burma had been tightly connected. They established a unique style of the ‘Dvaravati culture’ which expanded into the mainland of Thailand, arrived at Si Thep, Lamphun and Chiang Mai area. Many kinds of terracotta images are left and known as the symbol of the Dvaravati culture largely different from those of Funan and Khmer.

A lot of relics of those terracotta images and so on are discovered from the Khu Bua ruins in the suburbs of Ratchaburi. They were discovered from Nakhon Pathom and have a considerable expanse all over Thailand.

After 649, what happened to Dvaravati is not recorded, however the Mon state was not absorbed by Srivijaya. The Mon people survived after the establishment of Srivijaya. Later Dvaravati had built a strong kingdom in Hariphunchai, Lamphun in the northern part of Thailand. The Haripunchai kingdom was established around 750, and most of the central and northern Thailand had been under the rule of various Mons city states, which had been eclipsed by the Angkor Dynasty step by step and in 1292 Hariphunchai was occupied by Mangrai of the Thai kingdom of Lanna.

The resident range of the Mon people was wide spreading over present Thailnd. Everywhere we can find the city or town named ‘xx buri’. ‘Buri’ means ‘City or Town ‘in the Mon word. Specifically, the role of the Mons was very wide. However, as for the whole history of the Mon people, it wasn't possible to make clear.

They accepted since the early stage, Hinduism and Buddhism and made Buddha Footprint at their temples, as the certificate of the Buddhism belief in each village and town.


2-6-3  Kan-da-ri (干陀利), Chi-tu(赤土) and Srivijaya (室利佛逝).

Kedah had been convenient port to import western goods. So, Kedah started the tributary trade since the 5th century. In this case Kedah state used the port on the east coast, for instance Songkhla and Kelantan.
In the Chinese annals, the name of Kalatan (
呵羅単) had been recorded since 430, Kalatan was very civilized state and accepted Buddhism as early as the 5th century.
Kalatan sent tribute: in 430, 433, 434, 435, 436, 437, 441, 452, Kandari tributed; 453, 455, 502, 518, 520, 563 Tan Tan sent envoys in 535, 571, 581, 585, 616. Chi-tu: 608, 609, 610.

The Ming Shi (明史)says that the old name of San fo chi is Kandari. 明史 「三佛齊,古名干陀利。」
This short sentence means "San fo-chi was Kandari (Kedah) ". But many historians (followers of
Coedès) consider that San-fo-chi is Srivijaya, so Kandari is located in Sumatra (Palembang). However, Kandari was Kedah. They have mademiserable misunderstanding.

In the San-fo-chi time, the negotiator with the west countries
 was Kedah, so Kedah had been known as San-fo-chi for foreign countries, especially for Arab and Chola (Tamil country, south India).

As above, the Kedah lines had continued the tributary missions from Kalatan, Kandari and Chi-tu. And finally, this export line was absorbed to Srivijaya (Shi-li-fo-shi) until 670 AD.

2-6-4 FunanShi-li-fo-shi Śailendra San-fo-chi (三仏斉)

Many historians consider that San-fo-chi was Palembang or Jambi. Even M. Vickery follows the theory of
Coedès that Srivijaya was Palembang, on the island of Sumatra. Ming Dynasty says as above, “San-fo-chi was Kandari”. The author of the Ming shi was better than Coedès. ‘San- fo-chi union regime’ consists of Jambi, Kedah and Chaiya. San-fo-chi was the allied polity of major Srivijaya's big three states. So when San-fo-chi first visited the Tang Dynasty in 904, Tang recorded that Fo-shi Srivijaya came to tribute and gave the ambassador Po Kho Su (蒲訶粟=Abu Hassan?) the title of the Ning Yuan General (寧遠将軍). (唐会要、Tang Hui Yao). At that time, the official of Tang recognized they came from Shi-li-fo-shi (Srivijaya).


San Fo-Chi (
三仏斉)means 'Three Vijayas'. Before San-fo-chi, Śailendra (the new Kha-ling) had dominated the tribute mission of Srivijaya group. However, Śailendra Dynasty of the central Jawa had lost hegemony after Mahārāja Samaratungga (son of Panankaran) died around 820. The crown prince Balaputradeva was defeated by Sanjaya prince Rakai Pikatan, whose wife was Balaputra's elder sister princess Pramodawardani. As the result Balaputra left the Jawa Island and fled to the old territory of Srivijaya (Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula). After the defeat in the central Jawa, Srivijaya group had temporarily lost control of subordinate states. Jambi sent its own mission in 852 and 871. New Kha-ling (exiled Śailendra) also sent an envoy during 860-874 from the Malay Peninsula.

However, such kind of independent and separated activity was not profitable for every member state, so they decided to collaborate each other and formed a single allied polity ' San-fo-chi' at the end of the 9th century. Their method of trade is collecting the tribute goods from Srivijaya group to Phatthalung (near Nakhon Si Thammarat) and transport them to Sathing Phra, then shipped to China. So, Phathalung was the distributing center for San-fo-chi group and shipping port was Sathing Phra.

 In 2014, occasionally big amount of gold products was discovered at Phatthalung. They were the evidence of Phatthalung's role as the distribution center of Srivijaya group. The officials of the Song Court had recognized ‘Sathing Phra’ was a part of Kha-ling.

Funan merged with Chi-tu(赤土国)in the first half of the 7th century. Before that, Chi-tu had been the largest state which sent tributary mission to the Sui Dynasty.

According to the Sui-Shu, Sui received Chi-tu envoys three times in 608, 609 and 610. The emperor ‘Yang-di(煬帝)’ sent an ambassador Chang-Jun(常駿) to Chi-tu. The real capital of Chi-tu was probably Kedah and on the east coast sub-capital was Songkhla (僧祇城). The ambassador Chang-Jun recorded the itinerary and details on Chi-tu. However, the name of Chi-Tu suddenly disappeared from the Chinese chronicles. The reason was not explained by any text, but probably Chi-Tu was merged with the exiled Funan, at that time Ban-Ban state. After integration of the Malay Peninsula, they established ‘Srivijaya (室利仏逝, Shi-li-fo-shi)’, and sent the first mission to the Tang Court, during 670-673. Probably it was in 670, because when Yi-Jing left Kanton for India in 671, he had recognized beforehand Srvijaya, which was the Buddhism flourishing state. After 20 days’ journey, he arrived at Shi-li-fo-shi (Srivijya), where he stayed for 6 months to study the grammar of the Sanskrit language. The king of Srivijaya warmly welcomed Yi Jing and sent him to Mulayu by his own ship, and probably sent him to Tamralipiti (Bengal port) via Kedah and the naked peoples island.    
The origin of name of 'Shi-li-fo-shi' probably came from 'Khao Si Wichai' located at Phun Pin. Khao Si Wichai (Srivijaya hill) is a small mountain and on the top of which there are 7 Hindu temples and one Buddhism temple. A Vishnu image was unearthed from there, and now exhibited at the Bangkok National Museum.


I agree with Coedès that the founder of Srivijaya was former Funan rulers. However, Coedès considered exiled Funan rulers had fled to the Jawa Island. It was the wrong direction. They could not have gone to the Jawa Island where Kha-ling, a strong kingdom already established stronghold. On the other hand, Ban Ban had been a subordinate state of Funan since the 3rd century and in charge of the ‘trans-peninsula trade route’for Funan and many times, had sent tributary missions on behalf of Funan since the middle of the 5th century.

Before founding Srivijaya, they had completely dominated Ban Ban, and later merged with other major states in the Malay Peninsula for instance Chi-Tu (赤土, Red Earth). At the end of 670, only the name of Srivijaya remained in the middle of the Peninsula, which was recorded in Chinese history as a tributary country. By the 670s, Chi-tu, Tan-Tan (丹丹) and Ban-Ban=盤盤)had ceased sending envoys to the Tang Court. After absorbing Kedah, Srivijaya intended to control the whole Straits of Malacca. It was necessary for Srivijaya to control the Malacca Straits to procure (purchase) the western precious goods coming across the Bay of Bengal. In the middle of the seventh century, the presence of the western countries, Persia and Arab, increased in the Tang Court. This means comparative decrease of Srivijayas status in the Tang Court. Historically Srivijaya had sent tribute of the western valuables to the Tang Dynasty as major items, so the increment of direct trade of the west countries with China means grave disadvantage for Srivijaya.

In the early 680s, Srivijaya sent an expeditionary navy to put Malayu (末羅瑜), Jambi (占卑) and Palembang (浡淋邦) under its control. After successful campaign, Srivijaya hurriedly had set up several inscriptions near Palembang and Jambi. The main purpose of these inscriptions was showing-off the existence of Srivijaya and threatening the local people to obey the authority of Srivijaya. Thereafter Srivijaya sent force in 686 from the base of the Bangka Island to Kha-ling (訶陵=Sañjaya), located in central Java. The navy might have successfully landed at Pekalongan, a major port of Kha-ling. In the central Jawa, where Srivijaya established the Śailendra kingdom. However Śailendra coexisted with Kha-ling kingdom which was later identified as the kingdom of Sañjaya or Mataram in central Java.

At the end of the 7th century, the territory of Srivijaya (Shi-li-fo-shi) became largest, covering the middle of the Malay Peninsula, the southeast coast of Sumatra and central Java. At the same time, Srivijaya started to control the traffic of the Malacca Straits.

 (The territory of Srivijaya, At the end of the 7th century) of Shi-li-fo-shi



2-7 Disappearance of Shi-li-fo-shi and emergence of Śailendra

Around 745, Water Chenla (水真臘, Cambodia) undoubtedly had attacked the capital of Srivijaya, and occupied Chaiya and Nakhon Si Thammarat. At the same time, the control of the Malacca Straits temporarily collapsed. However, nearly twenty years later, the Srivijaya group counter attacked Chenla and recovered Chaiya area. 
This event had not been explicitly recorded in any historical inscriptions or some other evidence, so it is a missing link. However, some serious events had certainly happened around this region. The Ligor inscription dated in 755 and the sudden emergence of Śailendra suggest us a series of the unusual events.

This is the most important point to see the history of Śrivijaya. If Śrivijaya (Shi-li-fo-shi) was located at Palembang, there could not be a justifiable reason why Srivijaya suddenly ceased sending embassies after 742 and in 768 Śailendra (new Kha-ling) emerged as a tributary state instead of Śrivijaya to the Tang Court. The occupation of Chaiya (the capital of Śrivijaya) by Chenla and the retrieval of Chaiya by Śrivijaya group were what really had happened considering the sudden emergence of Śailendra as the new leader of the Śrivijaya group.

However, for many historians, the hypothesis that Chenla had attacked Chaiya and occupied there must be unacceptable. The reason is very simple because, as they suppose, Srivijaya (Shi-li-fo-shi) was located at Palembang, so Chenla could not have attacked Srivijaya. At the same time they cannot find the reason why Shi-li-fo-shi (室利佛逝) disappeared from the chronicles of the Tang Dynasty after 742. In 768, Śailendra appeared under the name of Kha-ling (訶陵) in the Tang chronicles.

The nature of Śailendra is not clear, so many historians have continued long discussion, and came to the conclusion that San-fo-chi was dominated by Śailendra. My conclusion is simple.  Śailendra had belonged to the Srivijayas after they had attacked the central Jawa, the commander Dapunta Selendra (Śailendra) became the king in 686. The main player (Mahārāja) was changed according to the political situations. They formed
San-fo-chi’(三仏斉) at the end of the 9th century, and San-fo chi means ‘Three Vijayas’. Three major states of Srivijaya group, namely Chaiya, Kedah and Jambi formed a sigle polity representing Srivijaya group states for the tributary mission to China.

Srivijaya group had been integrated through the total history of Srivijaya from the middle of the seventh century until the end of the twelfth century.

In theLigor inscriptiondated 775, the victory of the Srivijaya group against Water Chenla is indirectly but clearly dictated.[[[

In this campaign against Water Chenla, the Śailendras navy from the central Jawa had played a leading role and after the victory, the king of Śailendra was given the title of Mahārājaof Srivijaya. The monument of this event is theLigor inscription. Thus Śailendra became the champion state of the Srivijaya group, but curiously Śailendra sent envoys to the Tang Court under the name of Kha-ling (訶陵)’ same as former Sañjayas. This seems quite mysterious for us. Of course there was a reason why Śailendra must use the name of Kha-ling (Ho-ling), because the Tang Dynasty had never allowed conflict or quarrel among the tributary states. In China, the emperors subordinates were not allowed to fight each other.

However the actual shipment of Śailendras tribute to China had been mostly dispatched from the east coast of the Malay Peninsula, probably Sathing Phra, and sometimes from Jambi where international commodities were easily accumulated.

Around 820, after Mahārāja Samaratuńgga died, probably the second Mahārāja of Śailendra, his daughter Prāmodāwarddhanī might have succeeded him as Queen, as the result his son Prince Bālaputra had lost helm in the central Jawa and the kingship of Śailendra. Later Bālaputra was defeated by Rakai Pikatan (Sañjaya prince), husband of Prāmodāwarddhanī and was exiled from Java. Rakai Pikatan assumed the kingship in 838, so Bālaputra might have left Jawa before that.

Ligor Inscription

Prince Bālaputra fled to Suwarnadvipa (Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula) but he inherited the title of Mahārāja of Srivijaya. His final destination was probably Kedah. Jambi had already the strongest economic power among  Srivijaya group and the kingship was also unshakable, so Bālaputra seemed to go to Kedah. He also, probably became the ruler of Chaiya, old Shi-li-fo-shi, and he possibly added some words behind the back of Ligor inscription (face B).
Ligor inscription A & B (Bangkok National Museum)

A stele, found at first at Chaiya then removed to Ligor (Nakhon Si Thammarat), in the Malay Peninsula, to the south of the Bay of Bandon, contains two inscriptions on its two faces.

R.C. Majumdar says in his Suwarnadvipa, The Śailendra Empire, pp149-150

Quote; “The inscription A begins with eulogy of Sri-Vijayendra-raja, and then refer to the building of three brick temples for Buddhist gods by Sri-Vijayesvarabhupati. Jayanta, the royal priest (Rajasthavira), being ordered by the king, built three stupas. After Jayantas death, his disciple and successor Adhimukhti built two brick caityas by the side of the three caityas (built by the king). In conclusion, it is said, that Srivijayanrpati, who resembled Devendra, built the stupas here in Saka 697 (775 AD).

 The inscription B, engraved on the back of the stele of only one verse and a few letters of the second. It contains the eulogy of an emperor (rajadhiraja) having the name Visnu (visnvakhyo). The last line is not clear. It seems to refer to a lord of the Śailendra Dynasty named Sri- Mahārāja, and though probable, it is not absolutely certain, if this person is the same as Rajadhiraja having the name Vishnu.” Unquote.


R.C.Majumdars interpretation would be correct. But the problem was of Sri-Vijayendra-raja, who should be king Panamkaran of Śailendra. The 2nd problem is who was ‘Vishnu’? He was probably King Samaratungga, the 2nd Mahārāja of the Śailendra kingdom. Three ‘stupas’ mean ‘Wat Wieng, Wat Long and Wat Kaeo. Remains of Wat Long and Wat Kaeo are seen at Chaiya, near Wat Wieng.

2-8 Śailendra Kingdom

King Panamkaran, after he returned to the central Java, he unified the Jawa island to the Śailendra kingdom. Because he was assigned to Mahārāja of Srivijaya. Mahārāja Panankaran had stripped of ‘the delegacy’ of the Sanjaya (former Kha-ling) royal family which had been a co-ruler of the central Java for nearly 100 years.

The Śailendra Dynasty constructed the biggest Mahayanist Buddhism temple in the world, the ‘Borobudur temple’, as the commemoration of the great victory over Chenla. At that time, probably there were not so many Buddhists in Jawa. Buddhism might be widely introduced after the occupation by Srivijaya in 686.

However, the Sanjaya group, too, constructed the ‘Prambanan Siva temple’ in the middle of the 9th century after Rakai Pikatan had kicked out Prince Balaputra from Jawa (The Shiva-grha epitaph of 856).

There is an opinion that the Borobudur temple had been naturally buried by the eruption of the ‘Merabi volcano’, but it is difficult to believe. The Borobudur temple, possibly had been buried with earth by Sanjaya, as the result it could have fortunately survived under the earth.

Thanks to it, it will be possible to say that a state of good preservation had been maintained until the staff of Sir Stanford Raffles discovered it in the 19th century.            

Both are the historic evidence how Śailendra and Sanjaya had co-existed near Jogjakarta since 686 until around 830.

Crown Prince Balaputra of Śailendra was defeated after the battle with Rakai Pikatan, prince of the Sanjaya family, and husband of Balaputras elder sister, princess Pramodhawardhani .Soon after the death of their father Mahārāja Samaratungga, the battle had started between Sailendra and Sanjaya. As the result, Balaputra was defeated and was driven out of the Jawa island around 830 and the Śailendra kingdom in the Jawa island disappeared forever.

The military activity of Sailendra must be remembered that during 760~830, Sailendra led Srivijaya’s expansion to Cambodia. After defeating ‘Water Chenla’ at Chaiya region, Sailendra navy proceeded to the Mekong Delta, and next to the sea-shore of Indochina, the territory of Linyi. Sailendra navy probably destroyed the export facilities (including big merchant ships) of Linyi. So, Linyi had to stopped sending the tributary mission to Tang after 750.

New Kha-ling sent tribute mission to Tang in 768, Śailendra navy should have secured the Mekong Delta River mouth before 768.

The story that Srivijaya broke into the Mekong River and invaded the coastal capital, killing the King, had prevailed among the Arab merchants, and an Arab scholar, Sulaiman wrote the similar story in 851. An ambitious Chenla King was anxious to attack the Mahārāja of Srivijaya, but the Mahārāja knew beforehand his intention and attacked Chenla. The Chenla king was beheaded by the Srivijaya army and his head was retuurned to the prince of Chenla king. Who was the Chenla king?

Q. Wales suggests that was Mahipativarman. However, he stayed throne during 780-788. King Sumbhuvarman reigned during 730-760, so he might be a killed king. But I cannot confirm his existance. Who were the kings of water Chenka, after Queen Jayadevi? There is no record.  The new king of the Angkor Kingdom, Jayavarman II was a king from Srivijaya group. Without doubt, he was strongly supported by the Sailendra navy. Angkor Kingdom had been under control of Srivijaya group for nearly 300 years.

2-9. Formation of San-fo-chi

Around 830, after kicked out from Jawa, Balaputra first called in the Jambi state, but he could not have stayed there, because Jambi had established strong kingdom by themselves and probably had not accepted the authority of Balaputra. After all, he escaped to the Malay Peninsula and settled in Kedah and called himself Mahārāja of Śailendra (Srivijaya). He controlled Chaiya, too. At that time, Tambralinga was busy to control the Angkor kingdom.

However, without Jambi there was no authority with him to command the whole Srivijaya group. The Jambi kingdom had sent independently its own mission to the Tang Court in 852 and 871. The independent behavior of Jambi might have given a big shock to the Srivijaya group. On the other hand, the Śailendra had continued sending the envoy to Tang 2 times in 827-33 and in 860-874. In this case Sailedra might have shipped tribute from Sathing Phra. They had imported the western goods at Kedah. 
On the other hand, the Sanjaya kingdom sent its mission 3 times in 820, 831 and 839. The Sanjaya mission used the name of ‘Java (闍婆)’. So, Sanjaya might have recovered rein of Jawa before 820  It is very funny why Sanjaya had not used their old name Kha-ling (訶陵)? The answer is obvious, if Sanjaya used the name of Kha-ling, the fact that Sanjaya had kicked out Śailendra after the battle would be revealed.

The Tang Court had strictly prohibited battle between the vassal states. Another question about the Sanjaya mission, why they sent envoy in 820, at that time Prince Balaputra was still active in Jawa. I suppose before 820, king Samaratunga might have died and his daugther Pramodhawardhani declared the queen of Śailendra. But the other Srivijaya group might not have accepted her authority. Because she was a wife of Rakai Pikatan, a prince of Sanjaya. At first, Rakai Pikatan fought against Balaputra for the authority of his wife (queen), but after his victory, he assumed himself the king of Sanjaya kingdom.

The Jambi kingdom, after sending the 2nd mission to the Tang Court in 871, might have realized that for a single state located at the bottom of the Malacca Straits, the trade benefit was limited, because Jambi could not procure sufficient western goods to tribute to the Tang Dynasty.

As the result, at the end of the 9th century, they formed the new polity of ‘San-fo-chi
(三仏斉)’. San-fo-chi means ‘three Vijayas’, namely,Chaiya, Kedah and Jambi. The biggest three states of Srivijaya group formed a new polity for the tributary mission. Chaiya (and Tambralinga) covered the gulf of Thailand and became the headquarter of San-fo-chi. Kedah supervised the Northern entrance of the Malacca Straits and Jambi covered the southern end of the Malacca Straits. San-fo-shi sent mission to Tang in 904. At that time, the Tang Court accepted San-fo-chi as 'Shi-li-fo-shi'.

The Karangtengah inscription dated 824 mentioned about Mahārāja Samaratungga. His daughter named Pramodhawardhani has inaugurated a Jinalaya, a sacred Buddhist sanctuary. The inscription also mentioned a sacred Buddhist building called Venuvana to place the cremated ashes of King Indra (Samaratungga?). The Tri Tepusan inscription dated 842 mentioned about the ‘sima (tax free)’ lands awarded by Śrī Kahulunan (Pramodhawardhani, daughter of Samaratungga) to ensure the funding and maintenance of a Kamulan called Bhūmisambhāra (Bodobudur). ‘The mountain of combined virtues of the ten stages of Boddhisattvahood’, was the original name of ‘Borobudur’.

Borobudur, the largest Mahayana Buddhist structure in the world built by the Śailendra Dynasty under Samaratungga.

Samaratungga was the head of the Śailendra kingdom who ruled the central Java and Srivijaya group in the 8th and the early 9th century. He was the successor of Mahārāja Panankaram, and his name was mentioned in the Karangtengah inscription dated 824, as the constructor of a sacred Buddhist building called Venuvana (Sankirt: bamboo forest) to place the cremated ashes of his predecessor Mahārāja Panankaram of Śailendra. During his administration, he initiated the construction of a massive Buddhist monument Borobudur. Samaratungga married Dewi Tara, the princess of Srivijayan ruler Dharmasetu (former Maharaja). This marriage strengthened the authority of the Śailendras family among Srivijaya group.

Samaratungga had one son by the name of Balaputra and one daughter Pramodhawardhani who was the elder sisiter of Balaputra. Pramodhawardhani married the Shivaite Rakai Pikatan from Sanjaya Dynasty. Rakai Pikatan managed to usurp Balaputra's authority over central Java and forced the Saleidras to get out of Java.


Under the reign of Samaratungga too, Jayavarman II was appointed as the governor of Indrapura (the Angkor kingdom) in the Mekong delta. According to SKT inscription, Jayavarman II later revoked his allegiance to the Sailedras and Srivijaya to form the Khmer Empire. In 813 and 814, Water Chenla (Angkor) sent tributary missions, but after then stopped sending envoys to Tang. Probably Srivijaya forced ‘Water Chenla’ to stop sending envoys to Tang. In 1116, Suryavarman II resumed the tribute mission to China, after 300 years absence.

The role of TambralingaNakhon Si Thammaratwhich is situated on the south of Chiya, as the special headquarters, was to take care of the small states facing the Gulf of Thailand and collect the annual tributes (including tax) for Srivijaya (San-fo-chi). Furthermore, Tambarlinga took care of the Angkor, Khmer matters and supervised Lopburi where Srivijaya put the military base. The military commanders of Angkor were dispatched by Tambralinga. Later the prince of Tambralinga, Suryavarman I took the throne of the Angkor Dynasty.

2-9-1 Function of San-fo-chi (

As for the trade window of China, Songkhla and later Sathinpura were used as the shipping ports to China. In the time of Shi-li-fo-shi Songkla was mainly used, and later, in the ‘new Kha-ling (Śailendra)’ and San-fo-chi times, Sathing Phra was used and probably, was registered as the official port of for China. The reason is this port was the most convenient to ship to China. In the San-fo-chi times, Phatthalung was used to collect the tributary goods from all Srivijaya states and the rewards of the Song Dynasty were redistributed there. In 2014, huge amount of gold and gold artifacts were discovered at Phatthalung, which may be a part of the rewards from the Song Dynasty, perhaps secretly hidden by the officials of San-fo-chi.

San-fo-chi sent a mission to the Tang Dynasty in 904, so shortly before this mission, San-fo-chi was established. San-fo-ch had started activity after the establishment of the north Song Dynasty (in 960).

At the end of the Tang Dynasty, the officers of the Tang Court did not notice that shih-li-fo-shi
(室利佛逝)and San-fo-chi (三佛斉) were different. Originally, both Shih-li-fo-shi and San-fo-chi were Srivijaya, but in the Tang times before 904, it was called as Shih-li-fo-shi and in the Song times as San-fo-chi.
However, some historians discuss that Arabian merchants used to call the big trading country in the Malay Peninsula as Sribuza, Saboza or Zabag, so the name of San-fo-chi
 was recorded in the Chinese annals. But the name of Sribuza likely represented Shih-li-fo-shi.

A famous Japanese Historian, Dr. Toyohachi Fujita believed simply that Shih-li-fo-shi (
室利佛逝) and San-fo-chi (三佛斉) were the same Srivijaya. I agree with Dr. Fujita, but I suppose that the name of San-fo-chi came from three Srivijaya states, namely Kedah, Jambi and Chaiya (not Palembang). The position of Palembang in Srivijaya was ambiguous and as an international port it was minor. Commercially and politically and culturally the position of Chaiya had been much stronger than Palembang through the history os Srivijaya.

Anyway, the two major players of San-fo-chi in the Malacca Strait were Jambi and Kedah. Chaiya was the center of Srivijaya group on the east coast of the Malay Peninsula and controlled the Gulf of Thailand.
Chaiya had still functioned as a major international commercial port and at the same time the center of Mahāyāna Buddhism. At the sea-shore of Laem Pho, Chaiya there are plenty of porcelain and ceramic shards of the Tang and Song age.

2-9-2 Cholas invasion (10251080? and its influence

For San-fo-chi, the most important country of the West was Chola (Tamil). So, San-fo-chi had tried to keep good diplomatic relation with Chola.

San-fo-chi King Culamanivarmadeva (Kedah based), had constructed a temple at Nagapatam village in Chola and donated the temple to Chola. Later to maintain the temple Sri Maravijayottungavarman, son of Culamanivarmadeva donated villages in 1006. This is recorded in the ‘great Laiden coper plate inscription’. The relation between San-fo-chi and Chola used to be very intimate and friendly. As above mentioned, Suryavarman I sent letter to Chola King to ask for help his battle in the Chao Phraya basin.

However, the relation became suddenly bad after Chola sent tributary mission in 1015 to the North Song dynasty. At that time, the mission of Chola took 1,150 days to arrive at Guangzhou. It was unusually long journey. Usually it took less than one year. Probably some serious troubles on voyage during the Malacca Straits had happened.

San-fo-chi had controlling the whole Malacca Straits and forced all merchant-ships from western countries to sell one-third of their cargos. San-fo-chi probably wanted to enforce the same rule to the king’s ship from Chola.  The ambassador of Chola mission possibly resisted San-fo-chi. In the 'Zhu-fan-zhi (諸蕃志,1225), San-fo-chi required for foreign ships to sell one third of their commodities before entering its port, otherwise they were attacked by the San-fo-chi navy. Chola probably got angry at the attitude of San-fo-chi and decided to attack San-fo-chi to secure the convenient trade route to China.

Chola had attacked San-fo-chi in 1025, and the main target was Kedah of the Malay Peninsula where was the entrance of the trans-peninsula route.

. The following translation and list of the Tanjore inscription was made by RC. Majumdar: I add some comments on the list.

And (who) (Rājendra Cola) having dispatched many ships in the midst of the rolling sea and having caught Sańgrāma-Vijayottuńgavarman, the king of Kadāram (Kedah), along with the rutting elephants of his army, (took) the large heap of treasures, which (that king) had rightfully accumulated; (captured) the (arch called) Vidyādhara-toraņa at the “war gate” of the extensive city of the enemy; Śrī-Vijaya with “Jewel-gate”, adorned with great splendor and the “gate of large jewels”; Paņņai, watered by the river; the ancient Malaiyŭr (with) a fort situated on a high hill; Māyirudińgam, surrounded by the deep sea (as) a moat; Ilańgāśogam undaunted (in) fierce battles; Māpapāļam, having abundant (deep) waters as defense; Meviļmbańgam, having fine walls as defense; Vaļaipandūŗu, possessing (both) cultivated land (?) and jungle; Talaittakkolam, praised by great men (versed in) the sciences; Mādamālińgam, firm in great and fierce battles; Ilāmurideśam, whose fierce strength was subdued by a vehement (attack); Māņakkavāram whose flower-gardens (resembled) the girdle (of the nymph) of the southern region; Kadāram, of fierce strength, which was protected by the neighboring sea.

    Śrī-VijayaChaiya. But most historians believe it as Palembang. However, Palembang was not attractive for the Tamil kingdom.
    PaņņaiPanei on the east coast of Sumatra.
MalaiyŭrMalayu including Jambi.

 MāyirudińgamMajumdar comments that ‘MĂ’ means ‘maha’ in Sanskrit, so yirudińgam means ‘Jerteh (日羅亭;near Kuala Besut)’ which is also described by Chao Ju-kua(趙汝适)in the Zhu-fan-zhi. Concerning Jerteh there are many opinions. I suppose Jerteh locates south of Kota Bharu, near Kuala Busak. This port was probably connected with Kedah.

 IlańgāśogamBelongs to the old territory of Langkasuka which was supposed to be Nakhon Si Thammarat. But the location of this Langkasuka is not exactly identified. Many people believe it located at Pattani. The Zhu-fan-zhi says Langkasuka was located six days’ journey from Tambralinga (Nakhon Si Thammarat) by sea, but it is probably mistaken. Perhaps from “Tan-mei-ryu (丹眉流).

 MāpapāļamProbably Pahang.

 MeviļmbańgamKamalanka? Some say Kamalanka is the old Langkasuka located on the isthmus of Ligor, but no evidence.

Vaļaipandūŗu⇒Panduranga (Phan Rang, Champa port)?

 TalaittakkolamTakola of Ptolemy. Takua Pa.

MādamālińgamyaTambralinga. Nakhon Si Tammarat.

IlāmurideśamLamuri, Sumatra.

 MāņakkavāramNicobar Island.



R.C. Majumdar did not put Śrī-Vijaya in the above list. Śrī-Vijaya is probably Chaiya but most historians believe it was Palembang. For Chola, Palembang was not important state, because Palembang was out of the trade course to go to China. But Chaiya was more important. Chola attacked Takua Pa, so Chola also should have captured Chaiya, because both states were strategic ports covering the Gulf of Thailand. For Chola, Kedah (Kadāram) was the most important target. Chola attacked major ports of San-fo-chi. In this case, but Palembang was excluded, which was not so important as most of the contemporary historians convinced. Jambi kept relative independence, because Jambi was not so important for Chola, as the trade route to China.

Chola had no intention to occupy whole San-fo-chi, Chola wanted to dominate the shortest trade route to China. So, Chola occupied Kedah, but not intended to dominate the whole occupied area. In 1067, Chola received request from the King of Kedah to overcome the rebellion, and troops, after victory Chola returned the sovereign to the king of Kedah.
Jambi was one of the major states of San-fo-chi, but Chola had not occupied Jambi. Jambi sent tributary mission in
1079 and 1082, under the name of ‘San-fo-chi Jambi ‘. Apparently, Jambi was one of ‘Three Vijaya states’. So, the Northern Song dynasty did not give ‘rewards’ to Jambi. The Song Court said that Song would give reward only to San-fo-chi, not to Jambi. The result is unknown, but the Song Court regarded Jambi as the major member of San-fo-shi together with Kedah and Chaiya, so Jambi had no reason to send the tributary mission independently. This incident clarified the nature and composition of San-fo-chi. San fo-chi was not a single state, but the allied polity of ‘three major Srivijaya’s states’.

In 1025, The Tamils Chola navy attacked San-fo-chi and Kedah was occupied by Chola. The main purpose of Chola was the monopolistic use of the Malay Peninsulas crossing commerce road, which seemed of great merit for them. Chola attacked every important state (port), but it didn't aim to control all of them. The main objective of the Chola was to occupy the Kedah and a part of Malay Peninsula to use exclusively on-land trade route. However, Chola could not use the route so often and returned it to San-fo-chi about 60 years later. Probably Chola had not sufficient commodities to send frequent tributes to China, on the other hand the maintenance cost to occupy the Peninsula was too high. After Chola retreated, San-fo-chi once again solidified unity and regained vitality.

The importance of existence of San-fo-chi faded away because the South Song Dynasty abolished the traditionaltributary system at the end of the 12th century. The Southern Song Dynasty switched over all the tributary trade system to the ‘general commerce trade system’(市舶司) with the import duty, but reserved the right to purchase the most needed goods. The South Song government had to avoid the expensive traditional tribute and rewards system due to the financial difficulty of the South Song Court.

San-fo-chi sent the last mission to the South Song Court in 1178, and then after nothing was heard about San-fo-chi. I suppose that San-fo-chi became extinct spontaneously soon after the end of the tributary system.

In the 13th century, Chandrabhanu of the military chief of Tambralinga made proclamation of independence (1230) and places the territory of Srivijaya in the Malay Peninsula under his control.

However, the king Chandrabhanu had sent army to Ceylon two times and failed. At the end of the 13th century, the king Rama Khamheng of the Sukhothai kingdom put Tambralinga under his control.

At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty a mission came to the Ming Court from the Palembang state with the tribute, declaring that they came from ‘San-fo-chi’. But, San-fo-chi had disappeared more than 200 years ago. So, their story was apparent lie from the beginning, but nobody of the Ming Court noticed their lie

The officials of the Ming knew nothing about San-fo-chi. Ma-Huanin the Ming times, wrote this story in his book the Ying-yai Sheng-lan (瀛涯勝覧) without proper comment. In the Meiji times in Japan, some scholars took up this text and they believed that Palembang was San-fo-chi. Unfortunately, at first, no Japanese historian noticed this story of the Palembang was a mere lie.

Historically Funan, Srivijaya, Sailendra and San-fo-chi had lasted for nearly 1000 years, since the early 3rd century until the end of the 12th century.
What is the reason? I think the most important factor is Srivijayas rulers had the rational strategy. They found first that the international business is the most profitable business especially the tributary system with the Chinese Dynasties. So, Funan tried to monopolize the imports of the western goods, which would be presented to the Chinese Dynasties. The Chinese Emperors gave them very high rewards to the foreign vassals. Moreover, the Chinese government was a single buyer. They also monopolized the imports. The trade is very simple and easy. However foreign mission had to perform very complicated ceremony to pay respect to the Emperor at the time. Some foreigners had to spend several months to master the protocol.
Funan's strategy was invented by Great General 'Fan (shi) Man (
())’. He made a fleet of long rowing boats first and occupied the major ports of the Andaman seaside, where west merchants stopped over and Funan monopolize to purchase the western goods there. Funan originally transported the goods to the Mekong River through on land route.  Funan accumulated them at the port of Oc-Eo, and then shipped them to China and other destination.
Fan-Man occupied Takua Pa at that time. Then Funan developed the trans-peninsula transportation of the imports to Chaiya, Surat Thani at the Bay of Bandon where had been the territory of the Mon rulers (Ban Ban kingdom). Then Funan shifted shipping port from Oc-Eo to Ban Ban gradually. When Chenla destroyed Funan in Cambodia, Funan could restart the whole trade business from Ban Ban. It was very easy for Funan leaders. Funan integrated the middle Malay Peninsula after merged Chi-tu (
赤土国) and formed Shi-li-fo-shi (Srivijaya). Srivijaya next tried to control the whole Malacca Straits and occupied Mulayu, Jambi and Palembang. Further Srivijaya conquered the central Jawa, Kha-ling (訶陵) kingdon (Sanjaya) in 686. There Śailendra kingdom was established but Srivijaya had no intention to dominate the whole Kha-ling (Sanjaya). Srivijaya's (Shi-li-fo-shi's) aimed to monopolize the international trade there.

Water Chenla occupied Shi-li-fo-shi around 745, but Srivijaya group counter attacked Water Chenla at Chaiya. The major Srivijaya force was the Śailendra navy of Jawa. After the victory, the king of Śailendra (Panankaran) was appointed the Mahārāja of Srivijaya. Srivijaya group proceeded their navy to the Mekong River and occupied major cities. Then Jayavarman II was dispatched as the ruler of Water Chenla. It was the beginning of the Angkor Dynasty. However, around 830, Śailendra prince Balaputra was defeated by Sanjaya prince Rakai Pikatan, and lost the reign of the Jawa Island. So Srivijaya set back to Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula, and reorganized San-fo-chi, which is allied state of three major Srivijaya kingdoms, Jambi, Kedah and Chaiya. But San-fo-chi was invaded by the Tamil kingdom, Chola in 1025. Chola's purpose was to destroy Srivijaya's monopoly of the Malay Peninsula trade facility, but around 1080 Chola returned the rein to San-so-chi. San-fo-chi regained the tributary right to China. However, the South Song finished the tributary system in 1178 due to the financial difficulty. As the result, San-fo-chi resolved naturally and we have not heard its name after that.

 In the 15th century, Palembang state appeared as 'the former San-fo-chi', but there was no ground to say that. Palembang was a small vassal state of San-fo-chi.
Anyway, Srivijaya group had survived for 1000 years, starting Funan kingdom of the Mekong delta. Their strategy if to keep the strong position in the tributary system and maintained the strong navy consisted of fleets of rowing long boats.