Asoka and the Missions Home Page[Festivities for the Bodhi Tree]
[from XVIII. The Acquisition of the Great Wisdom Tree]
[Requesting the Nuns and the Bodhi Tree ]
1-32 ≠ Mhv. 1-18
Mahābodhiñ-ca Theriñ-ca ānāpetuṁ Mahīpati,
In order to bring the Great Bodhi and the Elder Nun, the Lord of the World,
Therena vuttavacanaṁ saramāno, sake pure 
Antovassekadivasaṁ, nisinno Therasantike,
remembering the statement spoken by the Elder, on a certain day in the Rainy Season, while sitting in his own city near the Elder,
sahāmaccehi mantetvā, bhāgineyyaṁ sakaṁ sayaṁ, 
Ariṭṭhanāmakāmaccaṁ, tasmiṁ kamme niyojayi. Mhv: niyojayaṁ.01
after consulting his ministers, urged his own nephew, the minister called Ariṭṭha, to (undertake) these deeds.
Mantvā āmantayitvā taṁ, idaṁ vacanam-abravi: 
After considering (it) and inviting him, he uttered this statement:
“Tāta sakkhissasī gantvā Mhv: sakkhisi gantvā taṁ.02 Dhammāsokassa santikaṁ
“Dear, after going into the presence of (King) Dhammāsoka will you be able Sakkhissasi is unclear, it suggests a verb sakkhati, which is not found in Pāḷi. In Mhv. there are many vvll, most of which connect it with sakkoti; being able.03
Mahābodhiṁ Saṅghamittaṁ Theriṁ ānayituṁ idha?” 
to bring the Elder Nun Saṅghamittā and the Great Bodhi here?”
“Sakkhissāmi ahaṁ Deva ānetuṁ te duve tato Mhv: tā tato idha.04
“I will be able, God-King, to bring these two from there
idhāgato pabbajituṁ sace lacchāmi, Mānada.” 
if, after returning here, I am allowed to go forth, your Honour.”
“Gaccha Tāta tuvaṁ Theriṁ ānetvā Bodhiyā saha,
“You may go, Dear, and after bringing the Elder Nun together with the Bodhi (Tree),
yadā patvāna Laṅkāyaṁ, pabbajjassu yathicchitaṁ.” 
after you have reached Laṅkā, you can go-forth according to your wish.”
Evaṁ vatvāna, so Rājā bhāgineyyaṁ apesayi,
Having said that, the King sent his nephew,
so Therassa ca Rañño ca sāsanaṁ gaṇhi Mhv: gayha.05 vandiya. 
and he took the message of the Elder and the King and worshipped (them).
Assayujasukkapakkhe nikkhanto dutiye dine Mhv: dutiye 'hāni.06
Leaving on the second day of the bright fortnight in Assayuja Normally falling in October.07
so 'nuyutto, Jambukole nāvaṁ āruyha paṭṭane, 
he, being dedicated, after boarding a ship in the port of Jambukola, Probably on the northern coast of the Jaffna peninsular.08
Mahodadhiṁ taritvāna, Therādhiṭṭhānayogato,
and crossing the ocean, through ExtMhv: Therādiṭṭhabalena pi; through strength unseen by the Elder, which doesn‘t make much sense.09 the power of the Elder’s determination,
Nikkhantadivase yeva Pāṭaliputtam-āgami. 
on the very day of departure it arrived at Pāṭaliputta.
Tadā tu Anulādevī, pañcakaññāsatehi ca,
Then Queen Anulā, with five hundred young women,
Antepurika-itthīhi saddhiṁ Mhv: tathā.10 pañcasatehi ca, 
and together with five hundred women of the harem,
dasasīlaṁ samādāya, kāsāyavasanā suci,
having undertaken the ten precepts, pure in the yellow robes, It is interesting that she is portrayed as already wearing the yellow robe, even though she only has ten precepts, which are not even sāmaṇerī precepts. It is a strong echo of the first nun Mahāpajāpati, and her following, who also donned robes before they were ordained.11
pabbajjāpekkhiṇī, sekhā pekkhanti Theriyāgamaṁ, 
being in training, looked forward to the going-forth, looked for the coming of the Elder Nun,
nagarassekadesamhi ramme Bhikkhuṇupassaye
kārāpite Narindena vāsaṁ kappesi subbatā. 
and made her dwelling in good conduct in the delightful Nunnery in a certain district of the town where the Lord of Men had had it made. The exact location cannot now be determined, except that it was within the city limits.12
Upāsikāhi tāhesa vuttho Bhikkhuṇupassayo
(As) these lay-women lived in the Nunnery
Upāsikāvihāro ti tena Laṅkāya vissuto. 
it became well-known throughout Laṅkā as the Lay-Womens‘ Monastery. The proper name for a residence for nuns (bhikkhuṇī) is an Upassaya; but before they were ordained they lived there as lay women under ten precepts, so it became famous as the Lay-Womens’ Monastery. 13
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Bhāgineyyo Mahāriṭṭho Dhammāsokassa Rājino
appetvā, Rājasandesaṁ Therasandesam-abravi: 
His nephew Mahāriṭṭha, having reached King Dhammāsoka, spoke the King‘s message and the Elder’s message:
“Putto Deva Mahindo maṁ pesesi tava santikaṁ.
“Your son Mahinda, God-King, sent me into your presence.
Anulā nāma sā Devi, bhātujāyā ExtMhv: bhātujāya.14 ca Rājino 
Piyatissasahāyassa tumhākaṁ Rājakuñjara,
The Queen named Anulā, your friend the King Piyatissa‘s brother’s wife, O Chief of Kings,
ākaṅkhamānā pabbajjaṁ, dasasīlaṁ samādiya, 
desiring the going-forth, has undertaken the ten precepts,
saddhiṁ sahassa-itthīhi, niccaṁ vasati saññatā.
together with a thousand women, and lives constantly restrained.
Mahātheriṁ Saṅghamittaṁ pabbājetuṁ visajjaya, 
Please send the Elder Nun Saṅghamittā to give the going-forth,
tāya saddhiṁ Mahābodhidakkhiṇaṁ sākham-eva ca.”
and together with her a branch from the south side of the Great Bodhi Tree.”
Theriyā santikaṁ gantvā amacco idam-abravi: 
(Then) the minister, having gone into the presence of the Elder Nun said this:
“Ayye bhātā Mahindo so maṁ pesesi tavantikaṁ.
“Noble Sister, your brother Mahinda send me into your presence.
Bhātujāyā tu Anulādevī nāma upāsikā, 
Devānampiyatissassa tāhi kāmā pabbajituṁ, Irregular cadence.15
Devānampiyatissa‘s brother’s wife, the lay-woman called Queen Anulā, through having a desire for the going-forth,
saddhiṁ sahassa-itthīhi, niccaṁ vasati saññatā. 
together with a thousand women, lives constantly restrained.
Pabbājethā ti tumhe taṁ gantvā kira mayā saha.”
Having gone together with me please give them the going-forth.”
Amaccassa vaco sutvā, turitā turitā tadā 
Having heard the minister's word, and then very quickly
gantvā Pitu samīpaṁ sā Therī Theramataṁ 'bravī:
having gone into the presence of her Father, the Elder Nun related the Elder's thought:
“Bhātā mayhaṁ Mahindo so pesetvā mama santikaṁ, 
“My brother Mahinda has sent (these) into my presence,
pahiṇitvā janaṁ amhe, gacchissāmi ahaṁ.” iti
and after we have sent the people back, I will go.” The Pāḷi is very poorly constructed here.16 (and:)
“Bahū janā kuladhītā Anulāpamukhā pi ca,
“Very many people, daughters of good families, with Anulā at their head,
ākaṅkhamānā pabbajjaṁ, gamanaṁ me vudikkhayuṁ.” 
desiring the going-forth, are looking forward to my journey.”
Sukkakaṇṭho va so Rājā sutvāna Theriyā vaco,
The King, who was flushed, Lit: white-throated. I cannot find this word or phrase used elsewhere, and the reading must be in doubt.17 having heard the Elder Nun's statement,
assudhāraṁ pavattento, taṁ Theriṁ idam-abravi: 
with a shower of tears set rolling, said this to the Elder Nun:
“Mahindo Amma putto me nattā so Sumano pi vā
“My son Mahinda, Dear, and my grandson Sumana
ohāya idha amhe, maṁ chinnahatthaṁ akā viya, 
having left us here, I am as though with my hands cut off,
Tambapaṇṇiyadīpamhi ubho tattha gamiṁsu te,
they both having gone there, to the Copper Dust Island,
apassantassa te mayhaṁ, mahā soko uppajjati. Irregular cadence, perhaps we should read: upajjati.18 
they are no longer seen by me, and great grief has arisen.
Passantassa mukham-ajja Better to read: mukhaṁ ajja, which gives the more usual pathyā cadence.19 tava sokopasammati,
Seeing their faces today your grief will be allayed,
idāni pi tuvaṁ Amma apassanto kathaṁ ahaṁ 
but now, not seeing you also, Dear, how will I
sokaṁ vinodayissāmi puttanattaviyogajaṁ?
dispel my grief in being parted from my son and grandson?
Alaṁ Amma tayā gantuṁ ajja, mā agamāsĭ tvaṁ.” 
Enough, Dear, (if) you were to go today, you (also) will not return.”
Pituno vacanaṁ sutvā sā Therī idam-abravi:
Having heard the statement of her Father, the Elder Nun said this:
“Bhātuno vacanaṁ Rāja ahosi garukaṁ mama, 
“My brother's word has importance for me, King,
saddhiṁ sahassa-itthīhi Deviyāsā mahā ahu.
together with the (request) of the great Queen and the thousand women.
Api ca bhātuno mayhaṁ na karomi vaco viya 
Further, I suppose, this is not (just) my brother's word
pabbājaniyā ca bahū paṭimānenti ExtMhv: pati-.20-m-āgataṁ.
and many are waiting for the coming of the going-forth.
Icchāmi taṁ Mahārāja gamissāmi idānahaṁ.” 
This I desire (to give), Great King, and (so) now I must go.”
“Yadi tayā gantukāmā, gahetvā Bodhim-uttamaṁ
“If you desire to go, after taking (a branch of) the Supreme Bodhi (Tree)
gantvā, Ayye, aduṁ Laṅkaṁ dakkhassu bhātuno.” iti 
and going, Noble Sister, you must see your brother in Laṅkā.”
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Asoka and the Missions Home Page[Festivities for the Bodhi Tree]
last updated: August 2012