Dīpavaṁsa
[The Chronicle of the Island]

XV. [The Relics, the Buddhas, and Queen Anulā]

1. (Mahinda said to the king:) “In the first month of the summer, on the full moon, on the Uposatha day, we have come hither from Jambudīpa; we have dwelt on this most excellent mountain.

2. During five months we have not left the Tissārāma nor the mountain; now we will go to Jambudīpa; permit it, o lord of charioteers.”

3. (The king replied:) “We serve you with food and drink, with clothes and dwelling-places; the whole people has taken refuge (in the Faith); what causes you dissatisfaction?”

4. (Mahinda said: “We have no object here [186] to which we may pay respect by) salutations and by rising from our seats, or by raising our clasped hands, and by respectful contemplation. For a long time, o great king, we have not seen the Sambuddha, the highest among men.”

5. (The king answered:) “Verily I have understood you, venerable sir; I will erect a most excellent Thūpa; find you out a suitable place (?); I will build a Thūpa in honour of the Teacher.”

6. (Mahinda gave the following order to Sumana:) “Go, chief Sumana; repair to Pāṭaliputta, and address thus the righteous king Asoka:

7. “Your ally, great king, has been converted to the faith of Buddha; grant to him (some of) the most excellent relics; he is going to erect a Thūpa in honour of the Teacher.”

8. Learned (Sumana) who was versed in the scriptures, a powerful, eloquent speaker, who had reached the perfect possession of (magical) power, who was firm and well grounded (in the Faith), –

9. took his alms-bowl and his robe, and instantly departed from the mountain. According to the truth he thus addressed king Dhammāsoka:

10. “Hear, great king, the message which my teacher sends you. Your ally, great king, has been converted to the faith of Buddha; grant to him (some of) the most excellent relics; he is going to erect a Thūpa in honour of the Teacher.”

11. Having heard this speech, the rejoicing and excited king filled the alms-bowl with relics, (saying:) “Quickly depart, pious man.”

12. The powerful, eloquent speaker then took the relics, rose into the air and repaired to Kosiya (Indra).

13. The eloquent man having approached Kosiya thus addressed him: “Hear, great king, the message which my teacher sends you.

14. King Devānampiya has been converted to the faith of Buddha; grant to him a most excellent relic; be is going to erect a splendid Thūpa.”

15. Having heard his speech, Kosiya rejoicing gave him the right collar-bone (of Buddha, saying:) “Quickly depart, pious man.”

16. The novice Sumana, leaving Kosiya and taking away the right collar-bone, descended on the most excellent mountain (Missaka).

17. The [187] wise man who was filled with modesty, fear of sin, and reverence, despatched by the king of Theras, placed himself on the most excellent mountain.

18. The king together with his brothers, at the head of a great army, and accompanied by the most excellent Bhikkhu fraternity, then went to meet the relics of the highest Buddha.

19-20. On the day of the full moon of the month Kattika, on the day of the Cātumāsa festival, the great hero arrived. (The dish with the relics) was placed on the frontal globe of the (state) elephant.

21. (The elephant) reared, like a struck gong; at that moment the earth quaked, when the Sage in the neighbourhood (of the mountain) approached.

22. The sound of the chanks and the roll of the drums mixed with the boom of the kettle-drums (was heard). The prince escorting (the relic) paid reverence to the highest of men.

23. The noble elephant turning westward proceeded together with the foot soldiers; he then entered the town by the eastern gate.

24. Men and women (there) offered various perfumes and garlands. The most excellent elephant leaving (the town) by the southern gate, –

25. proceeded to the very spot which teacher Kakusandha, Konāgamana and Kassapa, the old Sages, formerly had visited.

26. When the most excellent elephant had proceeded to that hill, the chief of men (there) deposited the relics of Sakyaputta.

27. At the moment when the relics were placed (there), the gods expressed their delight, and the earth began to quake in an astonishing, terrifying manner.

28. (The king) with his brothers, gladdening the ministers and the people of the kingdom (by his order), caused the bricks for the Thūpa to be manufactured.

29. The noblemen paid singly their reverence to the most excellent Thūpa; the highly precious relics which shone like a light, were covered with excellent gems.

30. (There were) white (?) canopies, separate canopies, covers (?), various (?) canopies, suitable ornaments, beautiful chowries.

31. Near the Thūpa a brilliancy spread in all directions over the four quarters from the lamps, like [188] the brilliancy of the rising sun.

32. Cloths brilliant with various colours were spread (?), and above (the Cetiya?) shone like (?) the cloudless sky.

33. A canopy covered with gold, which was encircled by (ornaments) made of gems and by most precious crystal, and adorned by gold sand….

(Mahinda related to the king the story of the relics of the three former Buddhas:)

1. Kakusandha

34. “Here Sambuddha Kakusandha, chief of men, surrounded by forty thousand (Bhikkhus who were holy) like (himself), looked (over this island).

35. The Buddha, gifted by (supernatural) vision, moved by compassion, looked on created beings, and on the suffering men in Ojadīpa, Abhayapura.

36. In Ojadīpa (he looked) with the power of the rays of his Bodhi on many created beings, on a great multitude that was to attain (supreme) knowledge, as the sun (awakens) the lotuses.

37. Accompanied by forty thousand Bhikkhus be repaired to Ojadīpa, resembling the rising sun.

38. (The Buddha’s name was) Kakusandha, (that of the chief Thera) Mahādeva, the mountain (was called) Devakūṭa; (there reigned in the island of) Ojadīpa, (in the town of) Abhayapura, a prince named Abhaya.

2. Konāgamana

39. The well constructed town which was worth seeing, delightful, and pleasant, was situated near the Kadambaka river.

40. (At that time there raged in the island) a fearful epidemic fever called Puṇṇakanaraka; the people were in a state of affliction like fishes in a net.

41. In consequence of the power of the Buddha the fever ceased. When (the Buddha) had preached the Truth which delivers from death, and had established the Faith of the Jina, –

42. eighty-four thousand men attained sanctification. At that time the monastery was the Paṭiyārāma, and (the Cetiya was) the Dhammakarakacetiya (Cetiya where the drinking vessel of the Buddha is preserved).

43. Mahādeva accompanied by one thousand Bhikkhus, remained (there), and the Jina, the highest being, himself departed from that place. [189]

44. Here Sambuddha Konāgamana, the great Sage, accompanied by thirty thousand Bhikkhus, looked (over the island).

45. The Sambuddha gifted with (supernatural) vision, diffused his compassion through ten thousand worlds; the great hero looked on the suffering people of Varadīpa.

46. In Varadīpa (he looked) with the power of the rays of his Bodhi on many created beings, on a great multitude that was to attain (supreme) knowledge, as the sun (awakens) the lotuses.

47. Accompanied by thirty thousand Bhikkhus the Sambuddha repaired to Varadīpa, resembling the rising sun.

48. (The Buddha’s name was) Konāgamana, (that of the chief Thera) Mahāsumana, the mountain (was called) Sumanakūṭa; (there reigned in the island of) Varadīpa, (in the town of) Vaḍḍhamāna, a prince named Samiddha.

3. Kassapa

49-50. At that time the island suffered from a drought; there was a famine ... When the created beings were afflicted by the famine like fishes in shallow water, abundant rain fell, when the Omniscient had arrived; the country became prosperous; he brought consolation to many people.

51. To the north of the town which was situated near the Tissatalāka, there was the Uttarārāma monastery; (the Cetiya at that time was) the Kāyabandhanacetiya (Cetiya where the girdle of the Buddha is preserved).

52. Eighty-four thousand men attained sanctification. When the Truth which delivers from death, had been preached, –

53. Mahāsumana, similar to the rising sun, accompanied by one thousand Bhikkhus, remained (there), and the great hero himself, the highest being, departed.

54. Here Sambuddha Kassapa, the ruler of the world, accompanied by twenty thousand Bhikkhus, looked (over the island).

55. Omniscient Kassapa looked down on the world of men and gods, and discerned by the pure vision of the Buddhas the beings who were to attain (supreme) knowledge.

56. Omniscient Kassapa, the receiver of offerings, diffusing (the rays of) his high compassion, perceived the furious contest (between king Jayanta and his brother Samiddha), –

57. and by the power of the rays [190] of his Bodhi, as the sun (awakens) the lotuses, he saw many beings in the island of Maṇḍadīpa who were to attain (supreme) knowledge.

58. “I shall go to Maṇḍadīpa and cause the Religion to shine there; I shall produce there high splendour like that of the moon in the darkness (of the night)”.

59. Surrounded by multitudes of Bhikkhus the Jina proceeded through the air; resembling the rising sun he repaired to Maṇḍadīpa.

60. (The Buddha’s name was) Kassapa, (that of the chief Thera) Sabbananda, the mountain (was called) Subhakūṭa, the name of the town was Visāla, that of the prince was Jayanta.

61. To the east of the town which was situated near the Khema tank, there was the Pācīnārāma monastery; (the Cetiya at that time was) the Dakasāṭika Cetiya (Cetiya where the rain-cloak of the Buddha is preserved).

62. The Sambuddha, after having comforted and reconciled the (two) brothers, preached the Truth which delivers from death, and established the Faith.

63. When the Truth which delivers from death, had been preached, and the doctrine of the Jina had been established, eighty-four thousand men attained sanctification.

64. Glorious Sabbananda, surrounded by one thousand Bhikkhus, remained in Maṇḍadīpa; the ruler of the world departed.

4. Gotama

65. Here (also stood) the Sambuddha who has appeared in the world (in the present age), the ruler of the world. “Out of compassion for the living I will save created beings.”

66. The Sambuddha, the chief of the world, the highest among men, looked on the great armies of Nāgas which had assembled, ready for a battle.

67. The Serpents emitted smoke and flames, they raged, they spread great horror, they were destroying the great island.

68. (The Buddha) went alone (to the island:) “I shall go to the most excellent island; I shall pacify the two Serpents, the uncle and the nephew.”

69. This Sambuddha was called Gotama; (it was) on the mountain called Cetiya (pabbata); there reigned in the delightful town called Anurādhapura a prince named Tissa.

70. In Kusinārā, in the Upavattana of the Mallas, the holy Sambuddha [191] reached complete Nibbāna by the destruction of the substrata (of existence).

71. (He at that time foretold:) “Two hundred and thirty-six years will elapse; then (a Thera) called Mahinda by name will cause the splendour of the Religion to shine (in Laṅkā).

72. In the south of the town, at a delightful place (will be) a beautiful Ārāma called the Thūpārāma.

73. At that time the island (will be known) by the name of Tambapaṇṇi; they will deposit a relic of my body in that most excellent island.”

Queen Anulā

74. The queen called Anulā was a believer in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Fraternity; she confessed the true doctrine, and put away the desire of existence. (She expressed to the king her desire of being admitted into the Order.)

75. Having heard what the queen said, the king addressed the Thera thus: (“Queen Anulā) believes in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Fraternity; she confesses the true doctrine, –

76. and puts away the desire of existence. Confer the Pabbajjā ordination on Anulā.” (Mahinda replied:) “It is not permitted to Bhikkhus, o great king, to confer the Pabbajjā ordination on women; –

77. my sister Saṅghamittā, o king, shall come hither. She will confer the Pabbajjā ordination on Anulā and will release her from all fetters.

78. Wise Saṅghamittā and clever Uttarā, Hemā and Māsagalla, Aggimittā, chary of speech, Tappā and Pabbatacchinnā, Mallā and Dhammadāsiyā, –

79. these Bhikkhunis who are free from desire and firm, whose thoughts and wishes are pure, who are firmly established in the true Dhamma and Vinaya, –

80. who have subdued their passions, who have their senses under control and have attained (perfection), who possess the three-fold Science and know well the (magical) powers, who are well grounded in the highest bliss, will also come hither.

81. (Devānampiya) sat down, surrounded by his ministers, and deliberated (about inviting princess Saṅghamittā). Having sat down in order to hold a council (about [192] this matter), he thus addressed the ministers ...

82. Prince Ariṭṭha, having heard what the king said, –

83. and having heard the speech of the Thera and received his commission, respectfully saluted his uncle (?) and departed in the northern direction.

84-85. Having established their residence in a certain quarter of the town, the noble ladies, five hundred virgins, queen Anulā at their head, all high-born and illustrious, having undertaken to observe the ten moral precepts, all this multitude late and early surrounded Anulā.

86. (Ariṭṭha) having proceeded to a sea-port went on board a great ship; when he had crossed the sea and reached the shore he stood (on dry ground).

87. The powerful minister (then) crossed the Viñjha range; having arrived at Pāṭaliputta, he presented himself to the king.

88. (Ariṭṭha thus addressed Asoka:) “Your son, Sire, your offspring, o great king Piyadassana, Thera Mahinda has sent me in your presence.

89. King Devānampiya, your ally, Piyadassana, who is converted to Buddha, has sent me in your presence.”

90. (Then) the great Sage (went to Saṅghamittā and) communicated to her the message of her brother: “The royal virgins, o Saṅghamittā, and princess Anulā, –

91. all look to you for the Pabbajjā ordination.” Wise Saṅghamittā, when she had heard the message of her brother, –

92. quickly went to the king and thus addressed him: “Give your consent, great king; I shall go to the island of Laṅkā; –

93. the great Sage has communicated to me the message of my brother.” (Asoka replied:) “Your sister’s son Sumana and my son, your elder brother, –

94. being gone, prevent, dear, that you, my daughter, should go also.” (Saṅghamittā replied:) “Weighty, o great king, is my brother’s command.

95. The royal virgins, o great king, and princess Anulā, they all look to me for their Pabbajjā ordination.”