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The Mahavamsa

The Great Chronicle of Lanka
from 6th Century BC to 4th Century AD

Translated from Pali
by Wilhelm Geiger



WHEN that king of high renown had united Lañkä in one kingdom he distributed places of honour to his warriors according to their rank. The warrior Theraputtabhaya would not have that which was allotted to him, and being asked:

'Wherefore?' he answered: 'It is war.' And questioned (yet again): 'When a single realm is created what war is there?' he answered: 'I will do battle with those rebels, the passions, (battle) wherein victory is hard to win.' Thus said he, and again and again the king sought to restrain him. When he had entreated again and again he took the pabbajja with the king's consent. After taking the pabbajja he attained in time to arahantship, and he lived in the midst of five hundred (bhikkhus) who had overcome the asavas.

When the week of the festival of kingship was gone by the fearless king Abhaya,' who had carried out the consecration with great pomp, went to the Tissa-tank, that was adorned according to the festival custom, to hold festival plays there and to observe the tradition of crowned kings.

All that had been made ready for the king and hundreds of offerings did they place on the spot where the Maricavatti vihara (afterwards stood). There in the very place where the thüpa (afterwards) stood the king's people who carried the spear planted the splendid spear with the relic. When the king had disported himself in the water the whole day through, together with the women of the harem, he said, in the evening: 'We will go hence; carry the spear before us.'

And the people entrusted with (this duty) could not move the spear from its place; and the king's soldiers came together and brought offerings of perfumes and flowers. When the king saw this great miracle, glad at heart he appointed sentinels there, and after he bad returned forthwith into the city he built a cetiya in such wise that it enclosed the spear and founded a vihära that enclosed the thüpa.

In three years the vihara was finished and the ruler of men called the brotherhood together to hold the festival (on the consecration) of the monastery. A hundred thousand bhikkhus and ninety thousand bhikkhunis were gathered together there. Then in this assembly the king spoke thus to the brotherhood: 'Without a thought of the brotherhood, venerable sirs, I ate pepper in the pod. Thinking: This shall be my act of expiation, I have built the pleasant Maricavatti vihara, together with the cetiya. May the brotherhood accept it!' With these words he poured forth the (ceremonial) water of a gift and piously gave the monastery to the brother hood. When he had set up a great and beautiful hall in the vihAra and round about it, he commanded that lavish gifts should be given there to the brotherhood. The hail was so planned that stakes were set even in the water of the Abhayatank,' what need of further words to speak of the remaining space (covered)?

When the ruler of men had given food, drink and so forth, for a week, he offered as a gift the whole of the costly necessaries for samanas. These necessaries began with a cost of a hundred thousand (kahapanas) and ended with a cost of a thousand. All this did the brotherhood receive. The money that was spent there in gratitude by the wise king, who was a hero in battle as in largess, whose pure heart was filled with faith in the Three Gems, who desired to raise the (Buddha's) doctrine to glory, (that was spent) to honour the Three Gems, beginning with the building of the thüpa and ending with the festival of the vihära, (all this money), leaving aside the rest of the priceless (gifts), is reckoned as but one less than twenty kotis.

Treasures which, in truth, bear on theni the blot of the five faults become, if they be acquired by people who are gifted with special wisdom, possessed of the five advantages ; therefore let the wise man strive to have them thus.

Here ends the twenty-sixth chapter, called 'The Consecrating of the Maricavatti-vihara', in the Mahavamsa, compiled for the serene joy and emotion of the pious.

 Top of Page | Index
 Chapter 01 | Chapter 02 | Chapter 03 | Chapter 04 | Chapter 05 | Chapter 06 | Chapter 07 | Chapter 08 | Chapter 09 | Chapter 10 |
 Chapter 11 | Chapter 12 | Chapter 13 | Chapter 14 | Chapter 15 | Chapter 16 | Chapter 17 | Chapter 18 | Chapter 19 | Chapter 20 |
 Chapter 21 | Chapter 22 | Chapter 23 | Chapter 24 | Chapter 25 | Chapter 26 | Chapter 27 | Chapter 28 | Chapter 29 | Chapter 30 |
 Chapter 31 | Chapter 32 | Chapter 33 | Chapter 34 | Chapter 35 | Chapter 36 | Chapter 37

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last updated: 20-May-2003