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island of Ceylon, which ended with the reign of Mahâsena, who died 302 A.D. MSS. of the Dîpavansa are said to exist, and there is a hope of its being published. Mahânâma, who lived during the reign of King Dhâtusena, 459-477, wrote the whole history of the island. over again, and carried it on to his own time. He also wrote a commentary on this work, but that commentary extends only as far as the forty-eighth verse of the thirty-seventh chapter, i. e. as far as the reign of Mahâsena, who died in 502 A.D. As it breaks off exactly where the older history, the Dîpavansa, is said to have ended, it seems most likely that Mahânâma embodied in it the results of his own researches into the ancient history of Ceylon, while for his continuation of the work, from the death of Mahâsena to his own time, no such commentary was wanted. It is difficult to determine whether the thirty-eighth as well as the thirty-seventh chapter came from the pen of Mahânâma, for the Mahâvansa was afterwards continued by different writers to the middle of the last century; but, taking into account all the circumstances of the case, it is most probable that Mahânâma carried on the history to his own time, to the death of Dhâtusena or Dâsen Kellîya, who died in 477.2 This Dhâtusena was the nephew of the historian Mahânâma, and owed the throne to the protection of his uncle. Dhâtusena was in fact the restorer of a national dynasty, and after having defeated the foreign usurpers (the

1 After the forty-eighth verse, the text, as published by Turnour, puts 'Mahâvanso nitthito,' the Mahâvansa is finished; and after a new invocation of Buddha, the history is continued with the forty-ninth verse. The title Mahâvansa, as here employed, seems to refer to the Dîpavansa.

2Mahâvansa,' Introduction, p. xxxi.

Damilo dynasty) "he restored the religion which had been set aside by the foreigners." Among his many pious acts, it is particularly mentioned that he gave a thousand, and ordered the Dîpavansa to be promulgated.2

As Mahânâma was the uncle of Dhâtusena, who reigned from 459-477, he may be considered a trustworthy witness with regard to facts that occurred between 410 and 432. Now the literary activity of Buddhaghosha in Ceylon falls in that period, and this is what Mahânâma relates of him ('Mahâvansa,' p. 250):

"A Brâhman youth, born in the neighbourhood of the terrace of the great Bo-tree (in Mâgadha), accomplished in the 'vijjá' (knowledge) and 'sippa' (art), who had achieved the knowledge of the three Vedas, and possessed great aptitude in attaining acquirements; indefatigable as a schismatic disputant, and himself a schismatic wanderer over Gambudîpa, established himself, in the character of a disputant, in a certain vihâra, and was in the habit of rehearsing, by night and by day with clasped hands, a discourse which he had learned, perfect in all its component parts, and sustained throughout in the same lofty strain. A certain mahâthera, Revata, becoming acquainted with him there, and (saying to himself), "This individual

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2 Mahâv. p. 257, " And that he might also promulgate the contents of the Dipavansa,' distributing a thousand pieces, he caused it to be read aloud thoroughly." The text has, 'datva sahassam dipetum Dipavansam samâdisi,' having given a thousand, he ordered the Dîpavansa to be rendered illustrious, or to be copied. (See Westergaard, 'Ueber den ältesten Zeitraum der Indischen Geschichte,' Breslau, 1862, p. 33; and 'Mahavansa,' Introduction, p. xxxii. 1. 2.)

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is a person of profound knowledge, it will be worthy (of me) to convert him;" inquired, "Who is this who is braying like an ass?" The Brâhman replied to him, "Thou canst define, then, the meaning conveyed in the bray of asses. On the Thera rejoining, "I can define it;" he (the Brâhman) exhibited the extent of the knowledge he possessed. The Thera criticized each of his propositions, and pointed out in what respect they were fallacious. He who had been thus refuted, said, "Well, then, descend to thy own creed;" and he propounded to him a passage from the 'Abhidhamma' (of the Pitakattaya). He (the Brâhman) could not divine the signification of that passage, and inquired, "Whose manta is this ?"—"It is Buddha's manta." On his exclaiming, "Impart it to me;" the Thera replied, "Enter the sacerdotal order." He who was desirous of acquiring the knowledge of the 'Pitakattaya,' subsequently coming to this conviction, "This is the sole road" (to salvation), became a convert to that faith. As he was as profound in his eloquence (ghosa) as Buddha himself, they conferred on him the appellation of Buddhaghosa (the voice of Buddha); and throughout the world he became as renowned as Buddha. Having there (in Gambudîpa) composed an original work called 'Nânodaya' (Rise of Knowledge), he, at the same time, wrote the chapter called "Atthasâlini, on the Dhammasanganî" (one of the Commentaries on the 'Abhidhamma ').

"Revata Thera then observing that he was desirous of undertaking the compilation of a general commentary on the 'Pitakattaya,' thus addressed him: "The text alone of the 'Pitakattaya' has been preserved in

this land, the 'Atthakathâ' are not extant here, nor is there any version to be found of the schisms (vâda) complete. The Singhalese 'Atthakathâ' are genuine. They were composed in the Singhalese language by the inspired and profoundly wise Mahinda, who had previously consulted the discourses of Buddha, authenticated at the thera-convocations, and the dissertations and arguments of Sâriputta and others, and they are extant among the Singhalese. Preparing for this, and studying the same, translate them according to the rules of the grammar of the Mâgadhas. It will be an act conducive to the welfare of the whole world."

"Having been thus advised, this eminently wise personage rejoicing therein, departed from thence, and visited this island in the reign of this monarch (i. e. Mahânâma). On reaching the Mahâvihâra (at Anurâdhapura), he entered the Mahâpadhâna hall, the most splendid of the apartments in the vihâra, and listened to the Singhalese Atthakathâ, and the Theravâda, from the beginning to the end, propounded by the thera Sanghapâla; and became thoroughly convinced that they conveyed the true meaning of the doctrines of the Lord of Dhamma. Thereupon paying reverential respect to the priesthood, he thus petitioned: "I am desirous of translating the 'Atthakathâ;' give me access to all your books." The priesthood, for the purpose of testing his qualifications, gave only two gâthâs, saying, "Hence prove thy qualification; having satisfied ourselves on this point, we will then let thee have all our books." From these (taking these gâthâ for his text), and consulting the 'Pitakattaya,' together with the 'Atthakathâ,' and condensing them into an abridged form, he composed the work called 'The Visuddhi

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magga.' Thereupon, having assembled the priesthood, who had acquired a thorough knowledge of the doctrines of Buddha, at the bo-tree, he commenced to read out the work he had composed. The devatâs, in order that they might make his (Buddhaghosa's) gifts of wisdom celebrated among men, rendered that book invisible. He, however, for a second and third time recomposed it. When he was in the act of producing his book for the third time, for the purpose of propounding it, the devatâs restored the other two copies also. The assembled priests then read out the three books simultaneously. In those three versions, neither in a signification nor in a single misplacement by transposition, nay even in the thera-controversies, and in the text (of the 'Pitakattaya') was there, in the measure of a verse or in the letter of a word, the slightest variation. Thereupon, the priesthood rejoicing, again and again fervently shouted forth, saying, "Most assuredly this is Metteya (Buddha) himself," and made over to him the books in which the Pitakattaya' were recorded, together with the 'Atthakathâ.' Taking up his residence in the secluded Ganthâkara vihâra, at Anuradhapura, he translated, according to the grammatical rules of the Mâgadhas, which is the root of all languages, the whole of the Singhalese Atthakathâ (into Pâli). This proved an achievement of the utmost consequence to all languages spoken by the human race.

"All the theras and âchâriyas held this compilation in the same estimation as the text (of the 'Pitakattaya'). Thereafter, the objects of his mission having been fulfilled, he returned to Gambudîpa, to worship at the bo-tree (at Uruvelâya, or Uruvilvâ, in Mâgadha)."

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