The Asokan Missions Home Page[The Passing of King Asoka]
[from XIX. The Journey of the Great Bodhi Tree]
[The Nuns and the Nunneries]
118-120 & 166-189 ≠ Mhv 68-85
Mahābodhimhi Nāthassa, Laṅkābhūvadane subhe
Saddhammadhajabhūte tu ṭhite acchariyehi pi, 
Near the Lord's Great Bodhi (Tree), through the wonder of being near the flag of the true Dhamma (preached) in the lovely words of the land of Laṅkā,
tadā sā Anulādevī pañcakaññāsatehi pi
Queen Anulā, with five hundred women and
antepurika-itthīhi saddhiṁ pañcasatehi vā, 
together with (another) five hundred women of the harem,
santike pabbajitvāna Saṅghamittāya Theriyā,
after receiving the going-forth in the presence of the Elder Saṅghamittā,
sahassabhikkhuṇī heva, vaḍḍhetvāna vipassanaṁ,
those one thousand nuns, after developing insight,
na cirasseva sā Therī Arahattaṁ apāpuṇi. 
in no long time It seems to me, that as Arahat Saṅghamittā herself had received the Sikkhamāna training for two years, that she would have asked Anulā and the others to keep it too, so no long time here should probably include that period. 01 attained the state of Worthiness.
* * *
Upāsikāvihāro ti ñāte Bhikkhuṇupassaye
In the Nunnery known as the Lay-Womens' Monastery
Sasaṅghā Saṅghamittā sā Mahātherī tahiṁ vasi. 
the Great Elder Saṅghamittā lived together with her Community.
Agārattayapāmokkhe agāre tattha kārayi.
She made there three dwelling places which were (considered) the foremost. In Mhv it mentions that she built twelve dwelling places in all.02
Tadā hi Anulādevī sutvāna Dhammadesanaṁ 
At that time Queen Anulā, after hearing a Dhamma teaching
Therassa santike yeva, Saccānaṁ paṭibujjhiya,
in the Elder (Mahinda's) presence, understanding the Truths,
kāsāyāni nivāsetvā, dasasīlāni vādiya 
and donning the yellow robes, undertook the ten precepts
Dolakanāmāmaccassa ghare vāsaṁ akappayi.
and made her dwelling in the home of the minister named Dolaka.
Gatāya Theriyā tattha Laṅkādīpe tato paraṁ, 
Afterwards, with the coming of the Elder Nun to the Island of Laṅkā,
Cūlaṅgaṇa-Mahāgaṇa-Sirivaḍḍhā ti – te tayo
pāsāde pamukhe tattha kārāpesi Mahīpati. 
these three foremost palaces: Small Chapter, Great Chapter and Increasing Splendour were made by the Lord of the World.
Parivāratthāya tesaṁ pāsāde apare bahū,
For the benefit of his retinue and many others in the palace,
Mahābodhāhaṭāyeva nāvāya kūpayaṭṭhikaṁ 
Cūḷaṅgaṇanāmagehe ExtMhv: Cūl-.03 ṭhapāpesi Mahissaro,
when the Great Bodhi (Tree) was brought in the ship, the Ruler of the World had the mast placed in the house named the Small Chapter,
Mahāgaṇakagehamhi lakārañ-ca patiṭṭhitaṁ, 
the sail was established in the Great Chapter house,
Sirivaḍḍhanagehamhi arittaṁ ṭhapitaṁ tadā.
and then the rudder was placed in the Increasing Splendour house. Dr. Hema Goonatilake, in her paper, The Unbroken Lineage of the Sri Lankan Bhikkhuni Sangha from 3rd Century B.C.E. to the Present, makes the interesting point that these nunneries are the first museums we hear of in history.04
Etādiso: guṇopeto Ratanattayagāravo, 
Bodhiyā garukaṁ katvā yāvajīvaṁ ExtMhv: -jīvam.05 Mahīpati,
The Lord of the World, who was of such a kind: endowed with virtue and respect for the Three Treasures, after paying lifelong respect to the Bodhi (Tree),
yāni sabbāni ṭhānāni kārāpetvāna Dīpake,
and causing all the places in the Isle to be prepared,
pākaṭā nāma nāmena, yāva ajjatanā iti. 
(gained) a famous name, lasting even until today.
Rañño maṅgalahatthī so, vicaranto yathāsukhaṁ,
The King's state elephant, wandering wherever it liked,
purassa ekapassamhi kandarantamhi sītale, 
Kadambapupphagumbante aṭṭhāsi, gocaraṁ caraṁ.
stayed on one side of the city in a cool spot in a mountain grotto, near to a Kadambapuppha bush, where it grazed.
Abhiṇhaṁ ExtMhv: Abhiṇham.06 gamanaṁ tattha narā, hatthiṁ vudikkhiya: 
Often people journeyed there, and after seeing the elephant,
“Ramamāno ayaṁ hatthī Kadambavanake,” iti
and saying: “This elephant delights in the Kadamba Grove,”
taṇḍulāneva pāyitvā, ExtMhv: pāyitva (?), and reports that māyitvā is found in all manuscripts.07 akaruṁ hatthiposanaṁ, 
after feeding it with rice, fattened up the elephant,
Āḷhaka-m-avhayantena ṭhānaṁ tena pavuccati.
and that place came to be known by the name of the Measure of Grain. Contrary to Geiger, who interprets ālhaka as meaning post (a meaning not found in the Dictionaries), this story indicates that the reason for the name is that the elephant was given a full measure of food by the visitors to the place.08
Athekadivasaṁ hatthī na gaṇhi kabalāni so,
One day the elephant didn't take (even) a morsel,
Dīpappasādakaṁ Theraṁ Rājā so pucchi tam-manaṁ. 
and the King asked the Elder who brought faith to the Island the reason.
“Kadambapupphagumbasmiṁ Thūpassa karanaṁ karī
* “Near the Kadambapuppha bush site he desires that a Sanctuary
icchatī,” ti Mahāthero Mahārājassa abravi. 
be built,” the Great Elder said to the Great King.
Sadhātukaṁ tattha Thūpaṁ Thūpassāgāram-eva ca,
khippaṁ Rājā akāresi niccaṁ janahite rato. 
The King, who was ever delighting in the welfare of the people, quickly built a Sanctuary there together with a relic, and a Sanctuary room.
Saṅghamittā Mahātherī, suññāgārābhilāsinī,
The Great Elder Saṅghamittā, who longed for an empty abode,
ākiṇṇattā vihārassa vasamānassa tassa pi, Mhv: sā.09 
as the dwelling place she lived in was crowded,
vuḍḍhatthinī Sāsanassa, bhikkhuṇīnaṁ hitāya ca,
seeking the benefit of the Dispensation, and the welfare of the nuns,
Bhikkhuṇupassayaṁ aññaṁ icchamānā vicakkhaṇā 
being wise and desiring another Nunnery,
gantvā Cetiyagehaṁ taṁ, pavivekasukhaṁ subhaṁ,
after going to that lovely Shrine House, which was comfortably secluded,
divāvihāraṁ kappesi, vihārakusalāmalā. 
spent the day there, she who had faultless skill in dwellings.
Theriyā vandanatthāya Rājā Bhikkhuṇupassayaṁ
gantvā, tattha gataṁ sutvā, nikkhamitvā upassayā, 
The King, after going to the (first) Nunnery in order to worship the Elder Nun, hearing she had left the place, departing from the nunnery,
patvā Cetiyagehamhi, Mahātheriṁ avandayi.
and arriving near the Shrine House, worshipped the Great Elder.
Sammoditvāna saddhiṁ so Saṅghamittāya Theriyā, 
After exchanging greetings with the Elder Saṅghamittā,
tassā ñatvā adhippāyaṁ, adhippāyavidū vidū,
understanding her intention, the wise man, skilled in intentions,
samantā Thūpagehassa rammaṁ Bhikkhuṇupassayaṁ
kārāpesi Mahīpālo mahātejiddhivikkamo. 
the Guardian of the World, a hero of great power, had a delightful Nunnery built around the Sanctuary House.
Hatthāḷhakasamīpamhi kato Bhikkhuṇupassayo
The Nunnery was built near where the elephant took his measure of grain
Hatthāḷhakavihāro ti vissuto āsi tena so. 
therefore it became well-known as the Elephant's Measure monastery.
Sumittā Saṅghamittā sā Mahātherī mahāmatī,
The good friend, This is a play on her name, which means friend of the community.10 the Great Elder Saṅghamittā, who was greatly wise,
tasmiṁ hi vāsaṁ kappesi ramme Bhikkhuṇupassaye. 
(then) made her dwelling in that delightful Nunnery.
Evaṁ Laṅkālokahitaṁ, Sāsanavuddhiṁ,
saṁsādhento esa Mahābodhidumindo,
Thus benefiting the world of Laṅkā, and accomplishing the development of the Dispensation, the Great Bodhi Tree,
Laṅkādīpe rammĕ Mahāmeghavanasmiṁ,
aṭṭhā dīghaṁ kālam ExtMhv: Aṭṭhāsi dīghakālaṁ; giving an extra syllable and being against the pattern of the metre. The edition follows Geiger here. Malalasekera records no variants.11-anekabbhutayutto ti. 
endowed with various wonders, remained for a long time, Indeed it still remains there to this day, being the oldest historical tree in the world.12 in the Great Cloud Grove, in the delightful Island of Laṅkā.
Written for the Faith and Invigoration of Good People
Mahāvaṁse Mahābodhāgamano nāma Ekūnavīsatimo Paricchedo
The Nineteenth Chapter in the Great Lineage called the Journey of the Great Bodhi Tree
The Asokan Missions Home Page[The Passing of King Asoka]
last updated: August 2012