Dīpavaṁsa
[The Chronicle of the Island]

XVII. [The Passing of a Generation]

1-2. The excellent island of Laṅkā is thirty-two yojanas long, eighteen yojanas broad, its circuit is one hundred yojanas; it is surrounded by the sea, and one great mine of treasures. It possesses rivers and lakes, mountains and forests.

3. The island, the capital, the king, the affliction (which vexed the island), the relics, the Thūpa, the lake, the mountain, the garden, the Bodhi tree, the (chief) Bhikkhuni, –

4. the (chief) Bhikkhu, and the most excellent Buddha: these are the thirteen subjects (to be treated in the following exposition). Listen to my enumeration of the four names of each of these subjects (in the time of the four last Buddhas).

5. (The island) was called Ojadīpa, Varadīpa, Maṇḍadīpa, and the excellent Laṅkādīpa or Tambapaṇṇi.

6. Abhayapura, Vaḍḍhamāna, Visāla, Anurādhapura are the four names of the capital at (the time of) the teaching of the four Buddhas.

7. Abhaya, Samiddha, the ruler of men Jayanta, and Devānampiyatissa are the four kings.

8. The fever, the drought, the contest (of the two kings), and (the island’s) being inhabited by the Yakkhas, these are the four afflictions which the four Buddhas have removed.

9. The relic of holy Kakusandha was the drinking vessel, the relic of Buddha Konāgamana the girdle, –

10. the relic of Sambuddha Kassapa the rain-cloak; of glorious Gotama there is a Doṇa of corporeal relics.

11. In Abhayapura was the Paṭiyārāma, in Vaḍḍhamānapura the Uttarārāma, in Visāla the Pācīnārāma, in Anurādhapura the Thūpārāma which is situated in the southern direction: (there) the four Thūpas at (the time of) the teaching of the four Buddhas (were situated).

12-13. The town of Abhayapura was situated near the Kadambaka (lake), the town of Vaḍḍhamāna near the Tissa lake, the town of Visālapura near the Khema lake; Anurādhapura….; the indication of the four directions (?) is as above.

14. The four names of the mountain are Devakūṭa, Sumanakūṭa, and Subhakūṭa; now it is called Silākūṭa.

15. The famous [197] (?) garden (which was called in the four periods respectively) Mahātittha, Mahānāma, Sāgara, and Mahāmeghavana, a path worthy of Saints, was the first resting place of the four chiefs of the world.

16. The Bodhi tree of holy Kakusandha was the most excellent Sirīsa; Rucānandā who possessed the great (magical) faculties, took its southern branch and planted it in Ojadīpa, in the Mahātittha garden.

17. The Bodhi tree of holy Konāgamana was the most excellent Udumbara; Kanakadattā who possessed the great (magical) faculties, took its southern branch –

18. and planted it in Varadīpa, in the Mahānāma garden. The Bodhi tree of holy Kassapa was the most excellent Nigrodha; –

19. (the Therī) called Sudhammā who possessed the great (magical) faculties, took its southern branch and planted the sacred tree in the garden called Sāgara.

20. The Bodhi tree of holy Gotama was the most excellent Assattha; Saṅghamittā who possessed the great (magical) faculties, took its southern branch –

21. and planted it in the island of Laṅkā, in the delightful Mahāmeghavana. Rucānandā, Kanakadattā, Sudhammā who possessed the great (magical) powers, –

22. and learned, wise Saṅghamittā who was endowed with the six (supernatural) faculties, these were the four Bhikkhunīs who brought each a Bo branch (to this island).

23. The Sirīsa Bo tree (was planted) in the Mahātittha garden, the Udumbara in the Mahānāma, the Nigrodha in the Mahāsāgara garden; so the Assattha was planted in the Mahāmeghavana.

24. On a mountain, in those four gardens, the four Bo trees have been planted; on a mountain was the delightful resting-place (of the four Buddhas), when the four Buddhas proclaimed their doctrine.

25. Mahādeva who possessed the six (supernatural) faculties, Sumana versed in the analytical knowledge, Sabbananda possessing the great (magical) powers, and learned Mahinda, these highly wise Theras were the converters of Tambapaṇṇi.

Kakusandha and his Bo Tree

26. Kakusandha, the highest in the whole world, who was endowed with the five kinds of (supernatural) vision, looking on the whole world, saw the excellent Ojadīpa. [198]

27. There raged then an epidemic fever called Puṇṇakanaraka; at that time there raged an epidemic fever among the people.

28. Many people, attacked by this sickness, became distressed and disconsolate like fish which lie lost on the bank (of a river).

29-30. Vexed by fear they were unable to regain happiness and tranquillity of mind. Kakusandha, the chief of the world, when he saw the afflicted beings who were being destroyed by the bonds of sickness, came hither from Jambudīpa together with forty thousand companions, for the sake of subduing the disease.

31. Forty thousand (Saints) who possessed the six (supernatural) faculties and the great (magical) powers, surrounded the Sambuddha, as the stars in the sky surround the moon.

32. Kakusandha, the illuminator of the world, established himself with his pupils on the Devakūṭa mountain, shining in splendour like a god.

33. When he stood resplendent in Ojadīpa on the Devakūṭa mountain, all people believed him to be a god. They did not understand that he was the Tathāgata.

34. (When they saw him) who arose with the rising dawn, on the day of the full moon, on the Uposatha day, and who illumined that mountain with its forests as if it were burning, –

35. when they saw the burning mountain which diffused light through the four quarters, all the people of Abhayapura with the king were joyful and delighted.

36. Buddha Kakusandha, the ruler of the world, formed the following resolution: “May all people, all men who live in Ojadīpa, see me.”

37-38. The Devakūṭa mountain was honoured among Rishis and liked by men; to that place went the hosts of people (who had been afflicted) by the distress of that fever, all the citizens together with the king, leaving the town, the capital, and there they paid homage to Kakusandha, the highest among men.

39. The royal retinue together with the people of the kingdom, a great crowd, arrived respectfully saluting the Sambuddha whom they believed to be a god.

40-41. All this multitude approached the most excellent Buddha, the highest among men. (The king thus addressed him:) “Consent, o Bhagavat, [199] to dine to-day together with the Bhikkhu fraternity (in my palace); let us go to the town, to the capital.” The Sambuddha agreed to the request of the king by remaining silent.

42. Having understood his consent, the royal retinue and the people of the kingdom, paying great honour and respect (to the Buddha), then returned to the town.

43. (The king thus reflected:) “This fraternity of Bhikkhus is numerous, the crowd of the people is great; there is no place prepared for its reception in this narrow town, in my capital.

44. I possess a great pleasure garden, the delightful garden of Mahātittha which is not too narrow nor too distant, which will be convenient for the ascetics –

45. and will be suitable for a retired existence and for the Tathāgata. There I will bestow presents on the Buddha and on the Bhikkhu fraternity.

46-47. May all people obtain the sight of the Buddha and of the Fraternity.” Omniscient Kakusandha, followed by forty thousand Bhikkhus, arrived at the Mahātittha garden. When the highest among men had entered the Mahātittha garden, –

48. the creepers and trees (were covered?) with flowers out of season. The king took a golden water-pot, –

49. and dedicated (the garden) for the sake (of the welfare) of Laṅkā, by pouring water over the hand (of the Buddha, saying): “I give, o Lord, this garden to the Saṅgha and to the Buddha, its chief.” It was a delightful resting-place, an appropriate residence for the Fraternity.

50. Kakusandha, the ruler of the world, accepted the garden. At that moment the earth quaked; this was the first resting-place (of the Saṅgha in Laṅkā).

51. The highest leader of the world stood there, causing the immovable earth to quake. (He then formed the following wish:) “0h that Rucānandā might take the Bo branch and come hither.”

52. The Bhikkhunī who possessed the high (magical) powers, understanding the thought of holy Kakusandha, went to the great Sirīsa Bodhi, and standing at its foot (she thought:)

53. “The Buddha desires that the Bodhi tree shall grow in Ojadīpa.” Thither she went in order to fetch the Bodhi tree, (the majesty of) which [200] is beyond human reason (?).

54. (She then expressed, the following resolution:) “May, with the consent of the most excellent Buddha, out of compassion for mankind, the southern branch sever itself through my magical power.”

55. When Rucānandā had pronounced this demand with clasped hands, the right branch severed itself (from the tree) and fixed itself in the vase.

56. Rucānandā who possessed the high (magical) powers, took the Bo branch in the golden vase, and ordered five hundred Bhikkhunīs to surround it.

57. At that moment the earth quaked together with oceans and mountains; it was a grand sight, wonderful and astonishing.

58. Witnessing this, the royal retinue and the people of the kingdom delighted all raised their clasped bands and paid reverence to the excellent Bodhi branch.

59. All the gods were delighted; the Devas joyfully shouted when they perceived the most excellent Bodhi branch.

60. The four (divine) Mahārājas, the glorious guardians of the world, all these gods kept guard over the Sirīsa Bodhi branch.

61. The Tāvatiṁsa gods, the Vasavatti gods, Yama, Sakka, Suyāma, Santusita, Sunimmita, all surrounded the most excellent Bo branch.

62. The delighted crowds of gods, raising their clasped bands, together with Rucānandā, paid reverence to the most excellent Bo branch.

63. Rucānandā who possessed the high (magical) powers, carrying the Sirīsa Bo branch, went to the excellent Ojadīpa, accompanied by the sister-hood of Bhikkhunīs.

64. The gods danced, laughed, and snapped the fingers of both hands, when the most excellent Sirīsa Bo branch was carried to the excellent Ojadīpa.

65. Rucānandā who possessed the high (magical) powers, accompanied by a host of Devas, approached Kakusandha, carrying the Sirīsa Bo branch.

66. At that moment the great hero Kakusandha, the ruler of the world, repaired to the spot in the Mahātittha garden destined for the reception of the Bo tree.

67. Rucānandā herself did not plant the resplendent Bo branch; Kakusandha, perceiving that, himself stretched out his right hand.

68. Rucānandā who possessed the high (magical) powers, placed the [201] southern branch of the Bo tree in the Buddha’s right hand, and respectfully saluted him.

69. Kakusandha, the chief of the world, the highest among men, took it and gave it to king Abhaya (saying:) “Plant it on this spot”.

70. Abhaya, the increaser of the kingdom, planted it on the spot which Kakusandha, the leader of the world, had indicated.

71. When the Sirīsa Bo branch had been planted in that delightful place, the Buddha preached the Doctrine, the four Truths which soothe (the mind of men).

72. When he had finished, one hundred and forty thousand men and thirty koṭis of gods attained (sanctification).

73. The Bo tree of Kakusandha was a Sirīsa, that of Konāgamana an Udumbara, that of Kassapa a Nigrodha; (this is) the description of the three Bo trees.

Gotama and his Bo Tree

74. The Bo tree of the incomparable Sakyaputta is the most excellent Assattha; taking it (hither) they planted it in the Meghavana garden.

75-76. The children of Muṭasīva were ten [other] brothers, Abhaya, Tissa, and Nāga, Utti and also Mattābhaya, Mitta, Sīva, and Asela, Tissa, and Kira; these were the brothers. Princess Anulā and Sīvalī were the daughters of Muṭasīva.

77. How great is the number of years which elapsed between the time when Vijaya came over to the most excellent Laṅkādīpa, and the royal coronation of the son of Muṭasīva?

78. Devānampiya was crowned two hundred years and thirty-six years more after the Sambuddha attained Parinibbāna.

79. When Devānampiya was crowned, the royal (magical) powers came over him; the lord of Tambapaṇṇi diffused rays of pure splendour.

80. At that time the most excellent Laṅkādīpa was a storehouse of treasures. Produced by the pure splendour of Tissa many treasures came to light.

81. When the glad and excited king saw these treasures, he sent them as a present to Asokadhamma.

82. Asoka was delighted when he saw these presents. He sent in return to Devānampiya various treasures destined to be used at his coronation. [202]

Devānampiyatissa’s Coronation, 3rd telling

83-86. The (monarch) called Asoka sent a chowrie, a turban, a royal parasol, a sword, slippers, a diadem, a … of Sāra wood, an (anointing) vase, a right band chank, a palanquin, a conch trumpet, earrings, a koṭi of clothes which are (cleansed by being passed through the fire) without being washed, a golden vessel and spoon, costly towels, a man’s load of water from the Anotatta lake, most precious yellow sandal wood, a measure of rouge, eye collyrium brought by the Nāgas, yellow and emblic myrobalan, costly Amata drugs, one hundred and sixty cart loads of fragrant hill paddy which had been brought by parrots; (all these things being) the rewards for his meritorious actions.

87. The requirements for his coronation as king of Laṅkā having been sent by Asokadhamma, Tissa, the lord of Tambapaṇṇi, celebrated his second coronation.

88. When thirty nights had elapsed after the second coronation of Tissa, Mahinda together with his companions arrived on this island from Jambudīpa.

89. (King Devānampiya) erected the most excellent monastery called Tissārāma. He also planted the great Bo tree in the Mahāmeghavana garden.

90. He built the great, delightful Thūpa. Devānampiya erected a monastery on the Cetiya mountain; –

91. he constructed the Thūpārāma, the Tissārāma (Issarasamaṇa?) Vihāra, the Vessagiri (Vihāra), and the Colakatissa (Vihāra?).

92. Ārāmas too (where the minor Bo branches were planted) at the distance of a yojana from each other, were made by king Tissa. He gave the great donation (which is called) the most excellent Mahāpela. This prince reigned forty years.

93. Then (followed his) other four brothers, the sons of Muṭasīva. Prince Uttiya reigned ten years.

94. Eight years after the coronation (of Uttiya), the enlightener of the island attained Nibbāna. (The king) caused the funeral ceremonies to be performed to the east of the Tissārāma.

95. When the twelfth year (after his Upasampadā) had been completed, Mahinda came hither; at the end of his sixtieth year he attained Nibbāna on the Cetiya mountain.

96-97. When the enlightener of the island has attained [203] Nibbāna, king Uttiya, having ordered full vases, triumphal arches, garlands, and burning lamps to be prepared, erected a most excellent hearse which was worth seeing. (Thus) he paid reverence to the enlightener of the Island.

98. Both gods and men, Nāgas, Gandhabbas, and Dānavas, all were grieved and paid reverence to the enlightener of the Island.

99. When they had performed the ceremonies during seven days on the most excellent Cetiya mountain, some people spoke thus: “Let us go to the town, to the capital.”

100. (Other people replied:) “There (in the town) is a great, fearful noise and uproar; let us here burn the enlightener of the island of Laṅkā.”

101. When the king heard what the crowd said, (he answered:) “I will erect a great Thūpa to the east of the Tissārāma”.

102. Carrying Mahinda, the enlightener of the island, together with the funeral hearse, (the people) together with the king, entered the eastern gate of the town.

103. Marching through the centre of the town, they left it by the southern gate, and performed great ceremonies during seven days in the Mahāvihāra.

104. Both gods and men erected a funeral pile of odoriferous drugs and placed it in the royal garden, (saying:) “Let us burn the virtuous one.”

105. They took Mahinda, the enlightener of the island, together with the funeral hearse, circumambulated the Vihāra, and caused (the people) to pay reverence to the most excellent Thūpa.

106. The great crowd, leaving the Ārāma by its eastern gate, performed the funeral ceremonies at a place close by it.

107. They all, weeping, raising their clasped hands, ascended the pile, and bowing they set the pile on fire.

108. The great teacher having thus been burnt entirely, they erected a most excellent Thūpa which contained his relics, and Ārāmas at the distance of one yojana from each other.

109. After the funeral ceremonies for Mahinda, the enlightener of the island, had been performed, that place first received the name of Isibhūmi.