[The Chronicle of the Island]

XIII. [The Earthquakes]

1. The whole crowd, the multitude of people who had not seen the Theras before, assembled at the gate of the royal palace and set up a great shout.

2. The king hearing the great noise … (asked:) “For what reason have [175] all these numerous people, has this great crowd, assembled?”

3. (The ministers said:) “This great crowd, Sire, has assembled for seeing the Fraternity; as they did not obtain a sight (of them), they set up that great shout.”

4. (The king replied:) “The palace is much too small for this multitude to place themselves therein; the elephant stables are not too small; (there) these crowds may see the Thera.”

5. When (Mahinda) had finished his meal and gladdened (the king by preaching the Dhamma), he rose from his seat, left the royal palace, and went to the elephant stables.

6. In the elephant stables they prepared a magnificent couch; on that excellent couch Mahinda, the enlightener of the island, sat down.

7. Seated on that most excellent couch Mahinda, the chief of (that) company (of Bhikkhus), then preached the most excellent Devadūta Sutta. Ed. note: MN 130.

8. Having heard that Devadūta discourse (which treats of) the most fearful (consequences of) former deeds, they were frightened and seized by great emotion, being terrified by the fear of hell.

9. When he saw that the people were oppressed by fear, he proclaimed the four Truths; at the end (of his discourse) one thousand men attained (sanctification); this was the second case of the attainment (of sanctification which occurred in Laṅkā).

10. Leaving the elephant stables (he went forth), followed by a great crowd, delighting many people, as Buddha had done in Rājagaha.

11. The crowd left the town by the southern gate; there was a pleasure garden called Mahānandana, to the south of the town.

12. In (this) royal pleasure garden they prepared a magnificent couch; there the Thera sat down and preached the most excellent Dhamma.

13. There he preached the most excellent Bālapaṇḍita Suttanta. Ed. note: MN 129. At that time one thousand created beings attained sanctification through the Dhamma.

14-15. A great crowd then gathered in the Nandana pleasure garden; noble women and maidens, the daughters-in-law and the daughters of noble families crowded together in order to see the Thera. While he exchanged greetings with them, night had fallen.

16. (The king therefore [176] addressed Mahinda:) “The Theras may pass the night here in the Mahānandana garden; it is too late for going hence to the distant dwelling in the mountains.”

17. (Mahinda replied:) “The town, which is filled with so many people, is too close by; in the night there will be a great noise; nay, let us go to that mountain which is like the palace of Sakka and well fitting for a retired existence.”

18. (Tissa answered:) “There is a solitary garden of mine, the Mahāmeghavana, suitable for going and coming, not too far and not too near, –

19. easily accessible for people who want (to see you), by day not exposed to much noise, at night there is no noise at all.

20. It is well fitted for a retired existence, and suits ascetic people; it is endowed with prospects and shadow, it is beautiful, and produces flowers and fruits, –

21. it is well enclosed by a wall and well protected by towers at the gates. There is a well arranged royal gate in my delightful garden, –

22. a well constructed lotus-pond covered with white and blue lotuses, cold water in suitable reservoirs, which is sweetly scented by flowers.

23. So delightful is my garden, appropriate for (you) and the fraternity of Bhikkhus. There, o Thera, reside; have compassion on me.”

24. Hearing what the king said, Thera Mahinda with his companions, surrounded by the host of ministers, proceeded then to the Meghavana garden.

25. Being invited by the chief of men, Thera Mahinda, the great teacher, entered the suitable Mahāmeghavana garden. In that garden, in the royal pavilion, the Thera, the great teacher, passed the night.

26. On the second day the king again visited the Theras. Having bowed to them, he spoke thus to the Theras;

27. “Have you had a good night’s rest? do you find this residence comfortable?” (The Theras replied:) “The dwelling is solitary, well fitting the season, agreeable to lie in for men, –

28. convenient for a retired existence and desirable.” The king, delighted by that speech, rejoicing and excited, –

29. he the ruler of the earth, took a golden vessel and dedicated the garden (to the Fraternity [177]). Raising his clasped hands, he pronounced the following words:

30. “Here, venerable Sir, I give up the beautiful Mahāmeghavana garden to the Fraternity of the four quarters of the world; accept it.”

31. Mahinda, the enlightener of the island, hearing what the chief of men said, accepted the garden for the sake of the construction of a monastery for the Fraternity.

32. At the moment when the Mahāmeghavana garden was given and accepted, the earth began to quake, and again and again thunder (was heard).

33. The chief of men called Tissa bestowed it on the Fraternity; they turned the Mahāmeghavana garden into (a monastery called) the Tissārāma.

34. The Mahāmeghavana was the first Ārāma, worthy of the Religion, which Devānampiya bestowed on the Fraternity.

35. Then the earth quaked, a horror-exciting portent. All people and the king, being terrified, asked the Theras (about the reason of that earthquake).

36. “This is the first monastery in the most excellent island of Laṅkā; the reason of this first earthquake is that the Faith has been established here.”

37. Witnessing that astonishing, terrifying miracle, they all waved their garments, as nothing of the kind had been experienced in the town.

38. Thence the rejoicing king in whose mind wisdom had arisen, raising his clasped hands, presented many flowers to Mahinda, the enlightener of the island.

39. The Thera accepted the flowers and threw them down in one place; then the earth again quaked; this was the second earthquake.

40. Witnessing this miracle also, the royal retinue together with the people of the kingdom shouted; this was the second earthquake.

41. The delighted king who rejoiced still more, (then asked:) “Satisfy my desire (to learn the reason of) this second earthquake.”

42. “The Fraternity will (here) perform its business which is irreproachable and worthy of the Faith. At this very spot, o great king, will be the consecrated enclosure.”

43. The king, still more delighted, presented flowers to the Thera; the Thera accepted the flowers and threw them down on another spot; then the earth quaked again; this was the third [178] earthquake.

44. (The king asked:) “What is the reason, great hero, of this third earthquake? Satisfy all my wishes, tell me, you are well experienced.”

45. “On this spot will be the bath-house with a tank; here the Bhikkhus always will fill the bath.”

46. Devānampiya, filled with high joy and delight, presented full-blown jasmine flowers to the Thera.

47. The Thera accepted the flowers and threw them down on another spot. Then the earth quaked again. This was the fourth earthquake.

48. Witnessing that miracle, the great crowds who had assembled, noising their clasped hands, paid reverence to (the Thera) who possessed the great (magical) powers.

49. The king, glad and delighted, quickly asked: “What is the reason, o great hero, of this fourth earthquake?”

50. “The descendant of the Sakyas, the great hero, was enlightened regarding the whole Truth near the Assattha tree; (there) he became the highest Buddha. That tree will be established on this very spot in this most excellent island.”

51. Hearing that, the king, glad, joyful, and excited, presented most excellent jasmine flowers to the Thera.

52. The Thera accepted the flowers and threw them down on the ground; at that moment also the earth quaked; this was the fifth earthquake.

53. Witnessing that miracle also, the royal retinue together with the people of the kingdom shouted and waved their garments.

54. (The king asked:) “What is the reason, o great sage, of the fifth earthquake? Tell me this matter, if that is consistent (?) with your pleasure and will.”

55. “Each fortnight they will here recite the Pātimokkha; on this very spot the Uposatha hall will stand.”

56. (The king) presented beautiful flowers to the Thera also in another place; the Thera accepted the flowers and threw them down on that spot. Then the earth quaked again; this was the sixth earthquake.

57. Witnessing this miracle also, the crowds who had assembled, joyfully thus addressed each other: “Here a Vihāra will stand.”

58. The king who was still more delighted, said to the Theras: “What is the reason, o great Sage, of the sixth earthquake?”

59. “As long as in future [179] times the alms due to the Fraternity (will be distributed), the assembled Fraternities of Bhikkhus will receive them, o great king, on this very spot.”

60. Hearing the Thera’s speech, the delighted king presented most beautiful flowers to the Thera.

61. The Thera accepted the flowers and scattered them on another spot; then the earth quaked again; this was the seventh earthquake.

62. Witnessing this miracle, the whole royal retinue and the people of the kingdom waved their garments, when the ground of the earth quaked.

63. (The king asked:) “What is the reason, o great sage, of the seventh earthquake? Explain it, o great sage, satisfy the desire of the multitude.”

64. (Mahinda replied:) “As long as learned people will reside in this monastery, the refectory and the dinner hall will be on this spot.”