Page images

Piṭakattaya), thus addressed him : " The text alone (of the Piṭakattaya) has been preserved in this land: the Aṭṭhakathá are not extant here; nor is there any version to be found of the 1vádá (schisms) complete. The Sinhalese Aṭṭhakathá are genuine. They are composed in the Sinhalese language by the inspired and profoundly wise Mahinda, who had previously consulted the discourses of Buddha, authenticated at the three convocations, and the dissertations and arguments of Sáriputta and others; and they are extant among the Sinhalese. Repairing thither, and studying the same, translate (them) according to the rules of the grammar of the Mágadhas. 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 (Mahánáma). On reaching the Mahávihára (at Anuradhapura)2 he entered the Mahápadhána hall, the most splendid of the apartments in the vihára, and listened to the Sinhalese Aṭṭhakathá, and the Théraváda, from the beginning to the end, expounded by the théra Sanghapála; 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 Aṭṭhakathá; give me access to all your books." The priesthood, for the purpose of testing his qualifications, gave only two gáthá, saying: "Hence prove thy qualification; having satisfied ourselves on this point, we will then let thee have all our books." From these (taking two gáthá for his text), and consulting the Pițakattaya together with the Aṭṭhakatha, and condensing them into an abridged form, he composed the commentary called the "Visuddhimagga." Thereupon, having assembled the priesthood who had acquired a thorough knowledge of the doctrines of Buddha at the bó tree, he commenced to read out (the work he had composed). The dévatás, in order that they might make his (Buddhaghósa's) gifts of wisdom celebrated among men, rendered that book invisible. 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 profounding it, the dévatás 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 théra '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 Metteyya (Buddha) himself; " and made over to him. the books in which the Pitakattaya were recorded, together with the Aṭṭhakatha. Taking up his residence in the secluded Ganṭhákara vihára at Anuradhapura, he translated, according to the grammatical rules of the Mágadhas, which is the root of all languages, the whole of the Sinhalese Atthakatha (into Páli). This proved an achievement of the utmost consequence to all languages spoken by the human race.

[blocks in formation]


444 having decided on the true meaning of the doctrines of the lord of Dhamma, he caused the priesthood to assemble there, and."

5" work."

[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

All the 'théras and ácáryas held this compilation2 in the same estimation as the text (of the Pitakattaya). Thereafter, the objects of his mission having been fulfilled, he returned to Jambudípa, to worship at the bó tree (at Uruvéla in Magadha).

Mahánáma having performed various acts of piety, and enjoyed (his royal state) for twenty-two years, departed according to his deserts.

All these rulers, though all-powerful and endowed with the utmost prosperity, failed in ultimately overcoming the power of death. Let wise men therefore, bearing in mind that all mankind are subject to death, overcome their desire for riches and life.

The thirty-seventh chapter in the Mahávansa, entitled "The Seven Kings," composed equally for the delight and affliction of righteous men.


MAHÁNÁMA had a son named Sotthiséna, born of a Damila consort; by the same queen he had also a daughter called Sangha. This Sotthiséna, who then succeeded to the monarchy, was put to death on the very day (of his accession) by the said princess Sanghá; who immediately, by beat of drums, conferred it on her own husband, Jantu, who held the office of chattagáhaka. He formed the Chattagáhaka tank, and died within that year.

His confidential ministers then privately burning his corpse within the precincts of the palace, and deciding that a certain powerful individual, who had been a plunderer of crops, was worthy of being raised to the monarchy, placed him on the throne; but kept him also confined within the palace, and giving it out that the rájá was suffering from sickness, himself administered the government.

At a certain festival the populace clamorously called out, "If we have a king, let him show himself." On hearing this call, the monarch arrayed himself in regal attire; but finding that no state elephant was forthcoming for him (to carry him in procession), mentioning, “Such an elephant will suit me," sent for the white elephant kept at the tooth-relic temple. On the messenger delivering the king's order, the elephant obeyed. (The rájá mounting him moved in procession through the capital, and passing out of the eastern gate, ordered an encampment to be formed at the first cétiya; and he built a triumphal arch within the square of the Mahá

166 Thériyá teachers." The teachers or doctors of the Mahávihára fraternity. This is the Páli version of the Atthakatha now used by the Buddhists of Ceylon. [Note by Mr. Turnour.] Insert "Reigns of.'


woman; and also a daughter named Sanghá born of his queen."

5 Insert 66 a man of great cunning." 6" come forth and show himself to us." 7" and when the elephant was brought to him (to ride on, he would not have him, but) said, "This elephant befits me not,' and sent for the white elephant kept at the tooth-relic temple. On being told that it was the king's command the elephant came (was brought up ?). And he (the king) mounted him and rode through the city in procession, and commanded that he should (in future) be stationed at the Pathama cétiya outside the eastern gate. He built triumphal arches in the elephant ramparts of the three great cétiyas."-The Pújávali, a later Sinhalese history, gives a different version of this incident. It states that the king went to the tooth-relic temple to worship, and ordered that the state elephant should be brought up for him to return. Seeing that there was some delay in doing so he was angry, and in his wrath called on the effigy of an elephant, made of brick and mortar, that was kept in the court of the temple, to carry him. It obeyed, and took the king on its back to his palace!

cétiya, formed by the wall ornamented with figures of elephants. Mittaséna having performed many acts of piety died within the year.

A certain Damila, named Pandu, landing from the opposite coast, put Mittaséna to death in the field of battle, and usurped the kingdom of Lanká. All the principal natives fled to Róhana; and the Damilas established their power on this (the Anuradhapura) side of the river (Maháváluká).

Certain members of the Móriyan dynasty dreading the power of the (usurper) Subha, the balattha, had settled in various parts of the country, concealing themselves. Among them, there was a certain landed proprietor named Dhátuséna, who had established himself at Nandivápi. His son named Dáṭhá, who lived at the village Ambiliyága, had two sons, Dhátuséna and Sílátissabódhi, of unexceptionable descent. Their mother's brother (Mahánáma), devoted to the cause of religion, continued to reside (at Anuradhapura) in his sacerdotal character, at the edifice built by the minister Dighasandana.1 The youth Dhátuséna became a priest in his fraternity, and on a certain day while he was chaunting at the foot of a tree a shower of rain fell, and a nága seeing him there encircled him in his folds and covered him and his book with his hood. His uncle observed this; and a certain priest, jealous thereof, contemptuously heaped some rubbish on his head, but he was not disconcerted thereby. His uncle noticing this circumstance also, came to this conclusion: "This is an illustrious (youth) destined to be a king; "and saying to himself, "I must watch over him," "conducted him to the vihára; and thus addressing him: "Beloved, do not omit, night or day, to improve thyself in what thou shouldst acquire," rendered him accomplished.

Pandu having heard of this, sent his messengers in the night, commanding, "Seize him." The théra, foreseeing in a dream (what was to happen), sent him away. While they were in the act of departing the messenger surrounded the parivéņa, but could not find them. These two escaping, reached the great river Góna in the southward, which was flooded; and, although anxious to cross,' they were stopped (by the rapidity of the stream). (Mahánáma) thus apostrophising the river:"O river, as thou hast arrested our progress, do thou, spreading out into a lake, equally delay him here;" thereupon, together with the prince, descended into the stream. A nága rájá, observing these two persons, presented them his back to cross upon. Having got across, and conducted the prince to a secluded residence, and having made his repast on some milk-rice which had been offered to him, he presented the residue, with the refection dish, to the prince. Out of respect for the théra he turned the rice out on the ground (in order that he might not eat out of the same dish with him) and ate it. The théra then foresaw that this individual would possess himself of the land.

The rájá Pandu died after a reign of five years. His son Párinda, and thirdly his younger brother Khudda Párinda, administered the government; 10but a constant warfare was kept up by Dhátuséna, harassing the whole population which had not attached itself (to him).

4 Dele.

1 Minister of Dévánampiya Tissa: vide p. 67.-[Note by Mr. Turnour.] 2" On another occasion a certain priest who was angry with him flung." 3" said to himself." 5 Insert" and." "saying, I must render this youth accomplished at the Gonisáda vihára," and so instructed him." Insert" quickly."

"The théra observing (to the prince) As this river has arrested our progress do thou likewise arrest its course by forming a tank here.""

"died in the third year of his reign, and."

10 and oppressed all the people who were on the side of Dhát uséna.”

Dhátuséna protected (his own) people, and waged war against (the usurper) rájá. That 1impious character dying in the sixteenth year of his reign, the other third individual became king. Dhátuséna, carrying on an active warfare against him, also, succeeded in putting him to death, likewise, within two months.

After the demise of this king, the Damila Dáṭhiya was rájá for three years, when he also was put to death by Dhátuséna. The Damila Píṭhiya then (succeeded), and in the course of his warfare with Dhátuséna was killed in seven months. The Damila dynasty then became extinct.

Thereupon the monarch Dhátuséna became the rájá of Lanká. With the co-operation of his brother, he3 entirely extirpated the Damilas, who had been the devastators of the island by their various stratagems-by having erected twenty-one forts, and incessantly waged war in the land; and re-established peace in the country, and happiness among its inhabitants. He restored the religion also, which had been set aside by the foreigners, to its former ascendency.

5 Some of the natives of rank, male as well as female, had formed connections with the Damilas. Indignant at this defection, and saying, “These persons neither protected me nor our religion, (the rájá) confiscating their estates, bestowed them on those who adhered to him. All the nobility who had fled to Róhana rallied round him ; on whom he conferred with due discrimination, every protection and honour; but more especially gratified those devoted officers who had personally shared his own adversities.

Damming up the great river (Maháváluká), and thereby forming fields possessed of unfailing irrigation, he bestowed them on the priests entitled to the great alms, for the purpose of supplying them with "sáli" rice. This wise ruler founded also hospitals for cripples and for the sick. He formeds an embankment across the Góna river including the Kálavá pi tank. Employing his army therein, he restored the Mahavihára, as well as the edifice of the bó tree, rendering it most beautiful to behold. Like unto Dhammásóka, having thoroughly gratified the priests by fully providing them with the four sacerdotal requisites, he held a convocation on the Pitakkattaya. He built eighteen viháras for the 10fraternities who had composed the “ théraváda; and to ensure full crops in the island, he formed also eighteen tanks at (those places): viz., at the Kálavápi 11tank, a vihára of that name, also the Kóțipassa, the Dakkhinagiri, the Vaddhamána, Pannávallaka, the Bhallátaka, 12Pásánasinna; in the mountain division, the Dhátuséna, the 13 Manganéthúpavíti; to the northward, the Dhátuséna; to the eastward, the Kambaviṭṭhi; in the same

[ocr errors]


king, having done both good and evil, died." 2" then Tiritara." 3 Insert after having erected twenty-one forts and carried on a warfare by various stratagems." 4 Dele.

5" And the king was wroth with those nobles and landlords who joined the Damilas, saying, 'They neither cared for me nor for their religion; ' and he took their lands from them and made them keepers thereof." That is, made them serfs of the land over which they were lords before.

6" he formed."

"" and bestowed on the priesthood alms of 'sáli' rice at the Mahápáli (almonry).” 8" the Kálavápi (Kaláveva) tank by putting up."

9" He improved the Mahavihára by adding regular walks thereto, and rendered."

10" Thériya priests, and endowed them with lands, and also formed eighteen tanks in the island. These are the viháras, namely."

11" vihára."

12" Dhátusénapabbata in the Pásánasinna division."

13" Mayhangana; the Thúpavitthi; the northern Dhátuséna; the eastern Kambavithi."

direction the Antaramégiri 1at Attálhi the Dhátuséna; the Kassapitthikó, at the mountain of that name; in Róhana, the Dáyagáma, the Sálavána, and Vibhísana viháras, as well as the Bhillívána viháras. These, be it known, are the eighteen. In the same manner, this ruler of men having constructed also eighteen small tanks and viháras, viz., the Pádulaka, Hambalaṭṭhi, the Mahádatta, &c., bestowed on the same parties. Pulling down the Mayúraparivéņa which was twenty-five cubits high, he reconstructed an edifice twenty cubits high. Assigning the task to prince Séna he caused the fourth of the fields at Kálavápi, two hundred in number, which were formerly productive, to be restored to cultivation. He made improvements at the Lóhapásáda, which was in a dilapidated state. At the three principal thúpas he erected chattas. He celebrated a festival for the purpose of watering the supreme bó tree, like unto the 5sinána festival of the bó tree held by Dévánampiya Tissa. He there made an offering of sixteen brazen statues of virgins having the power of locomotion 7 she held also a festival of inauguration in honour of the divine sage. From the period that the bó tree had been planted, the rulers in Lanká have held such a bó festival every twelfth year.9

Causing an image of Mahá Mahinda to be made, and conveying it to the edifice (Ambamálaka), in which the théra's body had been burnt, in order that he might celebrate a great festival there; and that he might also promulgate the contents of the10 Dipavansa, distributing a thousand pieces, he caused it to be read aloud thoroughly. He ordered also sugar to be distributed among the priests assembled there. (On this occasion) calling to his recollection the priest5 (formerly) 11resident in the same vihára with himself, who had heaped dirt on his head, he did not permit him to participate in these benefits. He made many repairs at the Abhayagiri vihára and for the stone statue of Buddha an edifice with an 12apartment (for the image). On the gem set in the eye of the image of the divine teacher by Buddhadása being lost, this (rájá), 13in a similar manner, formed the eye with the “chúlamani ” jewel (a part of his

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

3" He made over to Kumáraséna a portion of the half (of his own interest) in the Kálavápi (tank) and two hundred fields, and restored the former productiveness (of the lands situate there)."

5 Dele.

" and repaired the decayed chattas of the three great thúpas." "metal troughs (for holding water, to water the bódhi tree)." Turnour's Páli text has kaññáyo instead of náváyo, which accounts for his wrong translation. The words in the original are dhávaná-lóha-náváyó. Nává here means a cistern, in the shape of the hull of a ship, I presume. 'The word is literally rendered.


[ocr errors]

It is possibly a clerical error.-[Note by Mr.

"He also caused the image of the great sage (there) to be adorned and inaugurated."

• This festival is no longer celebrated, and has probably been discontinued from the period that Anuradhapura ceased to be the seat of government.-[Note by Mr. Turnour.]

10 The Mahavansa; whether brought down to this period, or only to the end of the reign of Maháséna, to which alone the Tíká extends, there is no means of ascertaining. [Note by Mr. Turnour.]

12 46

11 Add "although he was a resident of his (the king's) vihára." open hall." 13" caused the eyes to be set with two excellent jewels; also the halo, the crest, and the curled hair to be thickly studded with blue sapphires. He made offerings also of an excellent band of gold, an unnalóma' ornament (representing the curled hair on the forehead of Buddha), a golden robe, a network for the feet, a lotus, an excellent lamp, and cloths of divers colours without number. the Bahumangala cétiya he built image-houses, and added images of the Bódhisattas to the Kálaséla ( Black stone ') statue of the Master. To the statue of the Lord of the world, called Upasumbha, he made a halo and crest, and also to the statue of Buddha called Abhiséka the ornaments aforementioned."


« PreviousContinue »