Dīpavaṁsa
[The Chronicle of the Island]

XVI. [The Bodhi Tree]

1. The prince (Asoka) fitted out a great army consisting of four parts, and then went forth, taking with [193] him a branch of the Bo tree of the Tathāgata.

2. Having passed through three kingdoms and the Viñjha range, having passed through the great forest, the prince came to the ocean.

3. The great four-fold army with the Bhikkhuni congregation at its head (?), proceeded to the great sea, carrying the excellent Bo tree.

4. When (the Bo branch) was carried to the sea, on high the musical instruments of the gods (were heard,) and below those of men, the instruments of men from all four quarters.

5. Prince Piyadassana bowing paid his reverence to the Bo tree, and spoke thus:

6. “Learned, possessed of (magical) power, virtuous, most firm …”

7. The prince then (when the Bo branch had been despatched) wept, shed tears, and looked (on the parting vessel). Then he returned and came to his residence.

8. The Nimmita Nāgas in the water, the Nimmita Devas in the heavens, the Nimmita Devas in the tree (itself), and (the Nāgas) of the Nāga world, –

9. they all surrounded the most excellent branch of the Bo tree which was carried away. The wild Pisācas, the Bhūtas, Kumbhaṇḍas, and Rakkhasas, these non-human beings surrounded the branch of the Bo tree as it approached.

10. The Tāvatiṁsas and Yāmas and also the Tusita gods, the Nimmānarati gods and the Vasavatti gods –

11. (were) glad, joyful and delighted, when the Bo branch approached. And all the Tettiṁsa Devaputtas with Inda as their leader, –

12-13. snapped their fingers and laughed when the Bo branch approached. The four (divine) Mahārājas of the four quarters (of the horizon), Kuvera and Dhataraṭṭha, Virūpakkha and Virūḷhaka, surrounded the Sambodhi tree which was carried to the island of Laṅkā.

14. Mahāmukhas and kettle-drums, Divillas (?), leather-covered drums, and tabors (resounded); the gods joyfully shouted “Sādhu” when the Bo branch approached.

15. Pāricchattaka flowers, celestial Mandārava flowers, and celestial sandal powder rained through the air, and the gods did homage to the Bo branch when it approached.

16. The gods offered on the ocean to the Bo tree of the Teacher [194] Campaka flowers, Salla, Nimba, Nāga, Punnāga, Ketaka flowers.

17. The Nāga kings, the Nāga princesses, the young Nāgas, great crowds, left their residence and showed honour to the excellent Bo branch.

18. The Nāgas, dressed in garments of various colours and wearing ornaments of various colours, joyfully sported around the great Bodhi on the ocean (shouting:) “Hail to us.”

19-20. The Nāgas offered to the Bo branch on the glittering ocean red, white and blue lotuses of various kinds, Atimutta of honey-sweet scent, Takkārika and Kovilāra flowers, trumpet flowers, and quantities of Bimbajāla flowers, Asoka and Sāla flowers mixed with Piyaṅgu.

21. The delighted Nāga virgins, the joyful Nāga kings, (all the) Nāgas joyfully sported around the Bo branch which was carried along, (shouting:) “Hail to us.”

22. There the ground consisted of gems, and was covered with pearls and crystals; there were gardens and tanks adorned with various flowers.

23. Having remained there seven days, (the Nāgas) together with gods and men paid honour to the excellent Bo branch on its departure from their residence.

24. The Nāga virgins and the gods, surrounding the Sambodhi branch, (offered) strings of garlands and flower wreaths, and waved their garments.

25. The gods sported around the Bodhi which was carried along, (shouting:) “Hail.” Pāricchattaka flowers, celestial Mandārava flowers, and celestial sandal power rained through the air.

26. The Nāgas, Yakkhas, and Bhūtas, together with gods and men, surrounded the Sambodhi branch which was carried along on the ocean.

27. There, surrounding the Bo branch, they danced, sung, played (instruments), laughed, and snapped the fingers of both hands.

28. The Nāgas, Yakkhas, and Bhūtas, together with gods and men, when the most excellent Bodhi was carried along, exclaimed: “Oh auspicious event, hail.”

29. Beautiful Nāgas of brilliantly blue colour, holding flags, praised the most excellent Bodhi which was being established in the island of Laṅkā.

30. Great crowds, the prince with the queens, left the delightful (town of) Anurādhapura, and went to meet [195] the Sambodhi tree.

31. The prince together with his sons surrounded the Sambodhi tree; they offered scented garlands and most excellent perfumes (?).

32. The streets were well swept and offerings were prepared. When the Bodhi was established, the earth quaked.

33. The king appointed eight (persons of each class?) and the chiefs of each of eight warrior clans (?) to be Bodhi guards (?), for the custody of the most excellent Bodhi.

34. He fitted them out with great state, and bestowed on them beautiful ornaments of every description; out of reverence for the Bo branch he ordered sixteen great lines to be traced on the ground (?). If my translation of this very corrupted passage is correct, the sixteen lines mentioned here may stand in some connexion with the sixteen lines drawn on the ground by Māra near the Bo tree at Uruvela (Jātaka, I, p. 78).

35. Then he caused also pure white sand (?) to be scattered on that spot where the great lines had been drawn. He appointed one thousand families …

36. He bestowed on them golden drums for the performance of the rites of royal coronations and other festivals. He gave (to them) one province and erected (for them) the Candagutta (palace?) –

37. (and) the Devagutta palace, (and) duly (bestowed on them) land donations (?); to other families he gave the revenue of villages.

38. The five hundred high-born, illustrious virgins of the royal court who were free from passion and steadfast, all received the Pabbajjā ordination.

39. The five hundred virgins who surrounded Anulā, who were free from passion and steadfast, all received the Pabbajjā ordination.

40. Prince Ariṭṭha, released from the chain of fear, received the Pabbajjā ordination according to the doctrine of the Jina, together with five hundred companions. All these persons attained Arahatship and full perfection in the doctrine of the Jina.

41. In the first month of the winter season, when the tree was full of blossoms, the great Bo branch was brought (hither) and established in Tambapaṇṇi. [196]