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first Magadhese settlers under Wijaya synchronise with the very doubtful date adopted by the Sinhalese historians as the time when Buddha attained Nirvana or died, viz. 543 B.C. The real date was 477 B.C. according to Sir F. Max Müller; 1 but doubts have been expressed regarding even this date, and Dr. Fleet has adopted 482 B.C. as a more satisfactory one. There are no data for fixing the true lengths of the reigns between 245 and 205 B.C., but apparently all have been doubled in length by the early chroniclers. We shall be nearly correct in assuming that the wihara was established in about 235 B.C., and that the inscriptions may have been cut ten or fifteen years later.
The reason why King Uttiya used the term 'illustrious famous place' is explained in the Mahāvansa (i, p. 75) in the account of the transportation of the celebrated Bō-tree to Anuradhapura. On the tenth day of the month, elevating and placing the Bō-branch in a superb car this sovereign [Dēvānam-piya Tissa] who had by enquiry ascertained the consecrated places, escorting the monarch of the forest, deposited it at the site of the Pacīna wihāra; and entertained the priesthood [monks], as well as the people, with their morning meal. There (at the spot visited by Buddha's second advent) the chief thēra Mahinda narrated, without the slightest omission, to this monarch, the triumph obtained over the Nāgas (during the voyage of the Bō-branch) by the deity gifted with the ten powers. Having ascertained from the thera the particular spots on which the divine teacher had rested or taken refreshment, those several spots he marked with monuments.'
The reference to the action of the deity gifted with the ten powers,' that is, Buddha, shows that Mahinda was not relating an incident of the voyage of the Bō-branch, but the manner in which he was supposed to have terrified the Nāgas into submission at this place when he came to Ceylon and
1 Dhammapada, p. xxxvi.
See my remarks on the chronology of the early kings of Ceylon at the end of this chapter. In the genealogical table I have allotted those from 245 to 205 B.C. half the time allowed in the Mahāvansa.
visited Nāgadipa. When the second note which Turnour inserted in brackets is omitted the meaning is quite clear.
Thus the words of the inscription confirm the statement of the history that even at that early date the story of Buddha's visits to Ceylon was currently believed. This monastic establishment evidently marks the place at which he was thought to have suppressed the civil war between the Nāga kings Culōdara and Mahōdara, and at which the Rājāyatana tree (Kiripalu in Sinhalese, Buchanania angustifolia) of Sakra was planted for the Nagas to worship (Mah., i, p. 6).
There is a discrepancy regarding the site of the Pacina wihāra as proved by the inscription and that which is mentioned in the history. According to the Mahāvansa, in the quotation just given it would appear to be only half a day's journey from the place at which the Bō-tree was landed, but on p. 79 it is said to be at the port itself. I am unable to explain these conflicting remarks; the record left by King Uttiya must outweigh any ideas regarding the site expressed by a monk of Anuradhapura. A similar mistake is made by the annalist regarding the position of the Piyangala wihāra, which on p. 113 is represented as being less than two days' march for a monk from Anuradhapura, whereas the actual distance in a straight line is some 63 miles, which the windings of the path would make seventy or more. This wihāra was certainly at Kurundan-kuļam, and an inscription left there refers to it by name as 'this fearless1 excellent mountain Piyangala' (me abhaya isiri paw Piyangala). Until I studied King Uttiya's inscription I believed that the Pācina wihāra was at Piyangala, which is in the midst of wild forest, about 15 miles south-west of Mulleittivu.
It is recorded (Mah., ii, p. 58) that Senā, queen of Dappula II (807-812 A.D.), 'repaired the terraced house on [at] the Păcina wihāra.'
It is surprising to read that King Silākāla (526-539 A.D.) removed the celebrated 'gem-set throne,' over the possession of which the Nāga kings were represented to have quarrelled 1 The character of the hill shows that in this instance abhaya must have been used with the meaning 'not causing fear.'
at the time of Buddha's visit, from the Păcina wihara to a house at the foot of the Bō-tree at Anuradhapura. The throne may have been constructed to suit the story related by Mahinda to the credulous Dēvānam-piya Tissa, by way of confirming it. The tank mentioned in the fourth inscription is a shallow one of eight or ten acres, with a straight low embankment eight or nine feet high, a typical village tank of the smaller kind, having an inferior water-supply provided merely by rainfall flowing into it from the adjoining jungle for a length of about a mile (see Fig. No. 148).
At the Naval Nirāvi hill where these inscriptions are cut no remains of a built wihāra or a dāgaba have been discovered. There is an earthen platform which has a supporting wall of stone, at the western side of the hill. As no traces of a building are to be seen on it it may have been the site of the Kiripalu tree of Sakra, or a Bō-tree. At the southern hill a broken statue of Buddha in a cave proves that a wihāra was there at a later time.
As this monastery is of such an early date, and without doubt one of the earliest of which traces have been discovered in Ceylon, I now give the rest of the numerous inscriptions copied by me at the three hills and two others of the neighbourhood, some few being nearly as old as those of the king and queen, according to the indication afforded by the shapes of the letters. Unfortunately all are mere dedications of caves to the use of the Buddhist monks.
Other inscriptions at Naval Nirăvi hill.
(5.) To west of the upper royal cave. Bata Sumanasa lene sagasa dine.
The cave of the workman Sumana; given to the
(6.) To north of the last. Upasaka Nāgaha leņe sagasa
The cave of the lay devotee Nāga; given to the
1 In all cases the words of Buddhist Monks' are to be understood as following Community.'
(7.) To west of No. 6. Tisa terasa lene saghasa niyate. The cave of the thēra Tissa is assigned to the Com
(8.) To south-east of the upper royal cave. Damarakita terasa lene catu disa sagasa dine.
The cave of the thera Dhammarakkhita; given to the Community of the four quarters.
(9.) To north of the last. Damarakita teraha leņe sagasa (letters of first century B.C.).
The cave of the thera Dhammarakkhita; to the
(10.) To north of No. 4. Bata Sumanaha leņe cadu disa sagasa.
The cave of the workman Sumana; to the Com
munity of the four quarters.
(11.) To north-west of the upper royal cave. Bata Damagutaha Asatisa putaha Asadamarakita lene sagasa agata anagata catu disa.
The cave (of) Asadhammarakkhita, of the son of Asatissa, (son) of the workman Dhammagutta; to the Community present or future (of) the four quarters.
(12.) Cave full of bats, below royal upper cave. (1) Sagasa; (2) Parumaka Majimaha putasa Paru
maka Sidaṭaha Parumaka Cuḍa Sidaha Parumaka Tisaha.
To the Community. (The cave) of the Chief Siddhaṭṭha, of the son of the Chief Majjhima; of the Chief Cuda Siddha; of the Chief Tissa.
(13.) Above the last. Bata Budarakitaha matulaniya upasika Pusaya le (ņe) saghaye niyate (1st cent. A.D.). The cave (of) the female devotee Pusaya, the aunt of the workman Buddharakkhita, is assigned for the Community.
The next four are cut over shelters or caves round the overhanging sides of one immense boulder, each in one line. The inscription No. 4 is also cut at this boulder in a similar position.
Matula baginiyana lene agata anagata catu disa sagasa niyatase.
The cave (of) the sisters (of) Matula; they have assigned (it) to the Community of the four quarters, present or future.
Barata Mahatisaha lene sagasa niyate; followed by the symbols Fish, Trisula over circle, Swastika, and Aum monogram.
The cave of the royal messenger Mahātissa is assigned to the Community.
The cave of the royal messenger Mahātissa is assigned to the Community of the four quarters.
Parumaka Humaneha lene (letters of first cent. A.D.).
The cave of the Chief Sumana.
Inscriptions at Tēvāndān Puliyankulam rocks, many of them over the shelters formed under large overhanging boulders that lie on the top of the rock (see Fig. No. 149).
(18.) On west side of southern rock. Gapati Vasali puta > Maha Sumanasa.
(The cave) of Mahā Sumana, son (of) the householder Vasali.
On east side of north-west rock. Parumaka Uti puta Cuda Nagasa lene.
The cave of Cuḍa Nāga, son (of) the Chief Uttiya. (20.) On south side of north-east rock. Gapati Damasena puta Sumana Malasa ca Gapati Majima Tisa puta Digat(i)sasa ca lene.
The cave of Sumana Malla, son (of) the householder Dhammasena, and of Digha-Tissa, son (of) the householder Majjhima-Tissa.
Group to the north of these.
(21.) On south side of southern rock. Tebakaṭa Tisa puta Royogutasa lene.
The cave of Royogutta, son (of) Tebakaṭa Tissa. On east side of middle rock. Parumaka Siginika
The cave of the Chief Singhiņika Tissa (Tissa of the