[The Chronicle of the Island]

An Ancient Buddhist Historical Record
edited and translated by
Hermann Oldenberg

The earliest attempt to write a Chronicle of the Sāsana and the Kings of Sri Lanka, from earliest times up to the 5th c. A.D.



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Html Table of Contents

Note about the Digital Edition


I. Buddha’s subjection of the Yakkhas

II. The Conquering of the Nāgas

III. The Great Lineage of Kings

IV. [The First Two Councils]

V. The Schools of the Teachers

VI. [Asoka’s Conversion]

VII. The Council of the True Faith

VIII. [The Missions]

IX. [Vijaya’s Story]

X. [Paṇḍuvāsa]

XI. [Devānampiyatissa]

XII. [The Coming of Mahinda]

XIII. [The Earthquakes]

XIV. [Mahāvihāra and the Cetiyapabbata]

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

XVI. [The Bodhi Tree]

XVII. [The Passing of a Generation]

XVIII. [The Bhikkhuni Lineage]

XIX. [Duṭṭhagāmani]

XX. [Tissa to Kuṭikaṇṇatissa]

XXI. [Abhaya to Subha]

XXII. [Vasabha to Mahāsena]

Table of the Ceylonese Kings according to the Dīpavaṁsa


Note about the Digital Edition

This edition is based on the reprint of the 1879 edition made by the Pali Text Society in 2000. There were no errata published there, and although there appear to be numerous mistakes, which are meant to be there – as accurate reflections of the manuscript evidence – and which are printer’s errors I have been unable to determine. I have tried, therefore, as far as possible, to reproduce what I saw in the printed edition, following Oldenburg when he says in his Introduction: “In many passages I have refrained from correcting manifest grammatical blunders, errors in numbers of years etc., because I was afraid of correcting not the copyist but the author himself.”

In making this transcription I have made a few changes to the transliteration scheme, as follows: ṃ > ṁ; â > ā; î > ī; û > ū; ṁk & ñk, I have not been able to see any difference between these two representations of the guttural nasal, but in the text sometimes one is printed and sometimes another. & ñg & ṁg > ṅk & ṅg; ṁc > ñc; ṁch > ñch.

I have arranged the text and translation verse-by-verse, so that anyone with a modicum of Pāḷi knowledge can work back from the English to the Pāḷi text itself, and follow how the work proceeds.

I have included the complex variant readings that Oldenberg recorded for the text. There are something like 650+, and it is possible in typing them in I have made some mistakes (if anyone notices such I would appreciate it being brought to my notice). I have sometimes commented on the footnotes, and my comments are placed within square brackets.

I have included original page numbers also in square brackets, those attached to the text refer to the text page, those attached to the translation to the translation page. Verse numbers were only given after every five verses in the original but here I have included them all.

In the Tuṭṭhubha verses Oldenberg printed them as two lines of two pādas; here I have put each pāda on a separate line of its own. The Siloka verses were printed as two pādayugas, which I follow here; though occasionally, where Oldenberg printed three pādas on one line, I have separated them, placing the extra line on a line of its own.


I am very grateful once more to Donny Hacker for help in preparing the translation; despite having much other work on, and his studies as well, he always finds time for Dhamma work.

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu
November, 2017

2nd Edition, February 2018

After the text was published for some time it was brought to my attention by Dr. Petra Kieffer-Pülz that there were mistakes in the proof-reading. I have therefore gone over the text and proof-read the text and the translation once again.

In doing so I had the chance to read the text and translation together for the first time, and was able to correct many readings by comparing and cross-checking them.

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu
February, 2018