c.33: The Ten Kings

UNDER the rule of the king Dutthagámani the subjects in the kingdom lived happily; Sálirájakumára was his famous son.

Greatly gifted was he and ever took delight in works of merit; he tenderly loved a candála woman of exceedingly great beauty. Since he was greatly enamoured of the Asokamáládevi, who already in a former birth had been his consort,[1] because of her loveliness, he cared nothing for kingly rule. Therefore Dutthagamani’s brother, SADDHA TISSA, anointed king after his death, ruled, a peerless (prince), for eighteen years. He finished the work on the parasol, and the plaster-work and the elephant-wall[2] of the Great Thupa, he who won his name by his faith.[3] The magnificent Lohapäsada caught fire from a lamp; he built the Lohapasada anew, seven stories high. And now was the pasada worth (only) ninety times a hundred thousand. He built the Dakkhinagiri-vihara[4] and the (vihára) Kallakálena, the Kalambaka-vihara, and the (vihara) Pettangavalika, (the viharas) Velangavitthika,[5] Dubbalavapitissaka and Duratissakavapi,[6] and the Matuviharaka. He also built viharas (from Anuradhapura) to Dighavapi, one for every yojana (of the way).

Moreover, he founded the Dighavapi-vihara[7] together with the cetiya; for this cetiya he had a covering of network[8] made set with gems, and in every mesh thereof was hung a splendid flower of gold, large as a waggon-wheel, that he had commanded them to fashion. (In honour) of the eighty-four thousand sections of the dhamma the ruler commanded also eighty-four thousand offerings. When the king had thus accomplished many works of merit he was reborn, after his death, among the Tusita gods.

While the great king Saddhatissa lived yet in Dighavapi his eldest son Lanjatissa[9] built the beautiful vihara called Girikumbhila; and Thulathana, a younger son of this same (king), built the vihara called Kandara. When his father (Saddhatissa) went to his brother (Dutthagamani at Anurãdhapura) Thulathanaka went with him, to bestow land for the use of the brotherhood upon his vihãra.

When Saddhatissa died all the counsellors assembled, and when they had summoned together the whole brotherhood of bhikkhus in the Thuparama, they, with the consent of the brotherhood consecrated the prince THULANTHANA as king, that he might take the kingdom under his protection. When LANJATISSA heard this he came hither,[10] overpowered[11] him, and took the government upon himself. Only for one month and ten days had Thulathana been king.

During three years did Lanjatissa use the brotherhood slightingly and neglect them, with the thought: `They did not decide according to age.’ When, afterwards, he was reconciled with the brotherhood, the king built, in atonement, spending three hundred thousand (pieces of money), three stone terraces for offerings of flowers[12] to the Great Cetiya, and then did the lord of the land, with (the expense of) a hundred thousand, have the earth heaped up between the Great Thupa and the Thuparama[13] so that it was level. Moreover, he made a splendid stone mantling to the thupa in the Thuparama, and to the east of the Thuparama a little thupa built of stones,[14] and the Lanjakasana hall for the brotherhood of bhikkhus. Moreover, he had a mantling made of stone for the Khandhakathupa. When he had spent a hundred thousand for the Cetiya-vihara[15] he commanded that at the (consecration) festival of the vihara called Girikumbhila the six garments[16] be distributed to sixty thousand bhikkhus.

He built the Arittha-vihara[17] and the (vihara) Kunjarahinaka, and to the bhikkhus in the villages he distributed medicines. To the bhikkhunis he ordered to give rice as much as they wanted. Nine years and one half-month did he reign here.

When Lanjakatissa was dead his younger brother named KHALLATANAGA reigned six years. Round about the Lohapasada he built thirty-two exceedingly beautiful (other) pasadas[18] to make the Lohapäsäda yet more splendid. Round the Great Thupa, the beautiful Hemamálí,[19] he made as a border a court[20] (strewn) with sand and a wall. Moreover, he built the Kurundavásoka-vihára, and yet other works of merit did the king carry out.

A commander of troops named Kammaharattaka, overpowered the ruler, king Khallátanága, in the capital itself. But the king’s younger brother named VATTAGAMANI killed the villainous commander and took on himself the government. The little son of his brother, king Khallatanaga, whose name was Maháculika, he took as his son; and the (child’s) mother, Anuládevi, he made his queen. Since he had thus taken the place of a father they called him Pitirája.[21]

In the fifth month after he was thus anointed king, a young brahman named Tissa, in Rohana, in the city (that was the seat) of his clan,[22] hearkened, fool that he was, to the prophesying of a brahman and became a rebel, and his following waxed great. Seven Damilas landed (at the same time) with their troops in Mahatittha.[23] Then Tissa the brahman and the seven Damilas also sent the king a written message concerning the (handing over of the) parasol.[24] The sagacious king sent a written message to Tissa the brahman: `The kingdom is now thine, conquer thou the Damilas.’ He answered: `So be it,’ and fought a battle with the Damilas, but they conquered him.

Thereupon the Damilas made war upon the king; in a battle near Kolambalaka[25] the king was vanquished. (Near the gate of the Tittharama he mounted into his car and fled. But the Titthäräma was built by king Pandukabhaya and it had been constantly inhabited under twenty-one kings.)[26] As a nigantha[27] named Giri saw him take flight he cried out loudly: `The great black lion is fleeing.’[28] When the great king heard that he thought thus: `If my wish be fulfilled I will build a vihára here.’

He took Anuládevi with him, who was with child, thinking: `She must be protected,’ and Mahacula also and (his son) the prince Mahanaga, also thinking: `They must be protected.’ But, to lighten the car the king gave to Somadevi[29] his splendid diadem-jewel and let her, with her own consent, descend from the car.

When going forth to battle he had set out, full of fears, taking his little son and his two queens with him. Being vanquished he took flight and, unable to take with him the almsbowl used by the Conqueror,[30] he hid in the Vessagiri forest.[31] When the thera Mahatissa from Kupikkala (vihára) saw him there, he gave him food, avoiding thereby the giving of an untouched alms.[32] Thereon the king, glad at heart, recording it upon a ketaka -leaf,[33] allotted lands to his vihära for the use of the brotherhood. From thence, he went to Silasobbhakandaka[34] and sojourned there; then he went to Matuvelanga near Samagalla and there met the thera (Kupikkalamahatissa) whom he had already seen before. The thera entrusted the king with due carefulness to Tanasiva, who was his attendant. Then in the house of this Tanasiva, his subject, the king lived[35] fourteen years, maintained by him.

Of the seven Damilas one, fired with passion for the lovely Somadevi, made her his own and forthwith returned again to the further coast.[36] Another took the almsbowl of the (Master) endowed with the ten miraculous powers, that was in Anuradhapura, and returned straightway, well contented, to the other coast.

But the Damila PULAHATTHA reigned three years, making the Damila named Bahiya commander of his troops. BAHIYA slew[37] Pulahattha and reigned two years; his commander-in-chief was Panayamara. PANAYAMARAKA slew BAHIYA and was king for seven years; his commander-in-chief was Pilayamara. PILAYAMARAKA slew Panayamara and was king for seven months; his commander-in-chief was Dathika. And the Damila DATHIKA slew Pilayamara and reigned two years in Anuradhapura. Thus the time of these five Damila-kings was fourteen years and seven months.

When one day, in Malaya, Anuladevi went to seek her (daily) portion the wife of Tanasiva struck against her basket with her foot. And she was wroth and came weeping to the king. When Tanasiva heard this he hastened forth (from the house) grasping his bow. When the king had heard what the queen said, he, ere yet the other came, took the two boys and his consort and hastened out also. Putting the arrow to his bow[38] the glorious (hero) transfixed Siva[39] as he came on. The king proclaimed (then) his name and gathered followers around him. He obtained as ministers eight famous warriors, and great was the following of the king and his equipment (for war).

The famous (king) sought out the thera Mahatissa of Kupikkala and commanded that a festival in honour of the Buddha be held in the Acchagalla-vihara.[40] At the very time when the minister Kapisisa, having gone up to the courtyard of the Akasa-cetiya to sweep the building, had come down from thence, the king, who was going up with the queen, saw him sitting by the road, and being wroth with him that he had not flung himself down (before him) he slew Kapisisa. Then in anger against the king the other seven ministers withdrew themselves from him, and going whither it seemed good to them, they were stripped of their possessions by robbers on the way, and they took refuge in the vihara Hambugallaka where they sought out the learned thera Tissa. The thera, who was versed in the four nikayas,[41] gave them, as he had received it (as alms), clothing, sugar and oil, and rice, too, in sufficing measure.

When he had refreshed them the thera asked them: `Whither are you going?’ They made themselves known to him, and told him this matter. But when they were asked afterwards: `With whom will it be possible to further the doctrine of the Buddha? With the Damilas or with the king?’ they answered: `By the king will this be possible.’ And when they had thus convinced them the two theras, Tissa and Mahatissa, took them forth from thence and brought them to the king and reconciled them one to another. The king and the ministers besought the theras saying: `If our undertaking has prospered then must ye come to us, when a message is sent to you.’ The theras agreed and returned each one to his place.

When the renowned king had come to Anuradhapura and had slain the Damila Dathika he himself assumed the government. And forthwith the king destroyed the Arama of the niganthas and built there a vihara with twelve cells. When two hundred and seventeen years ten months and ten days had passed since the founding of the Mahavihara the king, filled with pious zeal, built the Abhayagiri-vihara.[42] He sent for the (two) theras, and to the thera Mahatissa, who had first assisted him of the two, he gave the vihära, to do him honour. Since the king Abhaya built it[43] on the place of the arama of (the nigantha) Giri, the vihara received the name Abhayagiri.

When he had sent for Somadevi he raised her again to her rank and built, in her honour, the Somarama,[44] bearing her name. For this fair woman, who had alighted from the car at this spot and had concealed herself in a thicket of flowering Kadambas, saw in that very place a samanera who was relieving his need, using (decently) his hand for concealment. When the king heard her story he built a vihara there.

To the north of the Mahathupa this same king founded upon a lofty spot the cetiya called Silasobbhakandaka.[45]

One of the seven warriors (of the king), Uttiya, built, to the south of the city, the so-called Dakkhina-vihara.[46] In the same place the minister named Mula built the Mulavokasavihãra, which was, therefore, called after him. The minister named Saliya built the Saliyarama, and the minister named Pabbata built the Pabbatarama; but the minister Tissa founded the Uttaratissaräma. When the beautiful viharas were completed they sought out the thera Tissa and gave them to him with these words: `In gratitude for thy kindness we give thee these viharas built by us!

The thera established sundry bhikkhus everywhere (in these viharas), according to their rank, and the ministers bestowed upon the brotherhood the different (things) useful to a samana. The king provided those (bhikkhus) living in his vihära with the (needful) things for use, so that nothing was lacking therefore were they many in number.

A then known by the name Mahatissa, who had frequented the families of laymen, was expelled by the brotherhood from our monastery[47] for this fault, the frequenting of lay-families. His disciple, the thera who was known as Bahalamassutissa, went in anger to the Abhayagiri (vihãra) and abode there, forming a (separate) faction. And thenceforward these bhikkhus came no more to the Mahavihara: thus did the bhikkhus of the Abhayagiri (vihara) secede from the Theravada. From the monks of the Abhayagiri -vihara those of the Dakkhina-vihara separated (afterwards); in this wise those bhikkhus (who had seceded) from the adherents of the Theravada were divided into two (groups).[48]

He (the king) built the cells of the vihara so that a greater number were joined together, for he reflected: `In this way it will be possible to restore them.’

The text of the three pitakas and the atthakatha thereon did the most wise bhikkhus hand down in former times orally, but since they saw that the people were falling away (from religion) the bhikkhus came together, and in order that the true doctrine might endure, they wrote them down in books.

Thus did the king Vattagamani-Abhaya reign twelve years, and, at the beginning,[49] five months beside.

Thus does the wise man labour, when he comes to rule, for the bliss of others and for his own bliss, but a man without understanding does not render the possessions which he has won,[50] however great they are, blissful for both, being greedy of (more) possessions.

Here ends the thirty-third chapter, called `The Ten Kings’, in the Mahavamsa, compiled for the srene joy and emotion of the pious.

  1. The story is told at length in the Tika. Cf. GEIGER, Dip. and Mah., p. 37.-1- [^]
  2. Hatthipakara: according to PARKER (Ancient Ceylon, p. 284), who bases his conjecture on the dimensions of the tiles, the sustainingwall of the upper ‘pasada’ on which are figures of elephants in relief. The sustaining-wall of the great terrace on which the Ruwanwaeli-dagaba stands is also ornamented with similar figures of elephants in relief, the forepart of the body jutting out from the wall (SMITHER, Anuradhapura, p. 40). But this hatthipakara seems to be of later origin.-2- [^]
  3. A play on the name Saddhatissa from saddha = faith.-3- [^]
  4. A monastery of this name appears also in the Culavamsa, 52. 60.-4- [^]
  5. See 37. 48.-5- [^]
  6. The tank Duratissa is situated in Rohana not far from Mahagama. PARKER, I. L, p. 393 foll.-6- [^]
  7. See note to 1. 78.-7- [^]
  8. The Tika explains nanaratanakacchannam by sattaratanakhacitajalam.-8- [^]
  9. Lajjitissa or Lanjitissa are variants of this name.-9- [^]
  10. That is, to Anuradhapura.-10- [^]
  11. Gahetva is, without doubt, an euphemism for ‘ (having) killed ‘.-11- [^]
  12. See note to 30. 51.-12- [^]
  13. The Thuparama is situated 400 yards north of the Ruwanwali-dagaba-13- [^]
  14. PARKER, Ancient Ceylon, p. 297, identifies the thupa called Dighathupa in the Dip., with the so-called Khujjatissarama or Seladagaba. But this is not situated to the east (the Mah. has purato just as the Dip. 20. 11 describes the position of the Dighathupa by Thuparama-puratthato) but to the south-east of the Thuparama, and it is twice as far from this latter as from the Ruwanwali-dagaba, so that orientation by the last-named, would be much more to the purpose. SMITHER (Anuradhapura, p. 55) is probably right in the conjecture that there is a reference in silathupaka to a little stone dagaba, a sort of model, similar to one that stands on the platform of the Ruwanweli-dagaba.-14- [^]
  15. The monastery on the Cetiyapabbata or Missaka-mountain. Cf. note to 20. 16.-15- [^]
  16. That is, to each one a pair of the three articles of clothing (ticivara), the antaravasaka ‘ under-garment, shirt’, the uttarasanga ‘robe ‘, and the samghati ‘ mantle ‘.-16- [^]
  17. That is, to each one a pair of the three articles of clothing (ticivara), the antaravasaka ‘ under-garment, shirt’, the uttarasanga ‘robe ‘, and the samghati ‘ mantle ‘.On the Aritthapabbata, now Ritigala. See note to 10. 63.-17- [^]
  18. Perhaps dwellings of smaller dimensions, for the bhikkhus.-18- [^]
  19. See 15. 167 ; 17. 51 and 27. 3.-19- [^]
  20. Literally, a ‘ sandcourt-boundary ‘. The allusion is to the so-called elephant-path that runs all round the terrace of the Ruwanwaeli dagaba and is bounded on the outside by a wall. On the east, south, and north it is 97 feet wide, on the west, i.e. at the back, 88′ 1/2 feet, SMITHER. I. I, p. 41.-20- [^]
  21. .e. ‘King father.’-21- [^]
  22. I read kulanagare and understand by this Mahagama the town from which the dynasty of Dutthagamani came.-22- [^]
  23. See note to 7. 58.-23- [^]
  24. As the symbol of kingly rank.-24- [^]
  25. Evidently identical with the Kolambahalaka, mentioned in 25. 80. See the note thereon.-25- [^]
  26. The passage enclosed in brackets occurs in all the groups of MSS. and is also referred to in the Tika. I have omitted the three lines of verse from the edition, chiefly for reasons of form (see Introduction, p. xxi) as being a later gloss. The battle took place not far from the north gate of the city. See also 25. 80 foll, and the note to 33. 81.-26- [^]
  27. See note to 10. 97. The name Tittharama alone indicates that the monastery was inhabited by non-Buddhist monks (tittha=sect).-27- [^]
  28. Mahakalasihala is a play on the word siha ‘lion’ and the name sihala (Mah. 7. 42).-28- [^]
  29. His second wife.-29- [^]
  30. According to Mah. 17. 12 foll, it had come to Ceylon as a relic in the time of king Devanampiyatissa.-30- [^]
  31. South of Anuradhapura. See note to 20. 15 on the Vessagiri-vihara.-31- [^]
  32. The bhikkhu is not allowed to share with a layman before he himself has eaten of the food that he has received as alms. So Mahatissa first ate of the food and then offered some to the king. SUBHUTI, communication in a letter of Feb. 27, 1903.-32- [^]
  33. Pandanus odoratissimus. As a rule royal donations were recorded on copper plates or might be on silver and gold plates. GEIGER, Litteratur und Sprache der Singhalesen, pp. 24-25.-33- [^]
  34. Cf. note to 33. 87 ; judging from the Tika we should probably read kandakamhi rather than katakamhi.-34- [^]
  35. Tahim = in Malaya, according to 33. 62.-35- [^]
  36. That is, he returned oversea to India.-36- [^]
  37. Gahetva. Cf. note to 33. 19.-37- [^]
  38. Cf. the Skt. dhanuh samdha in the same sense B.R., Skt. Wtb., s. v. dha with sam.-38- [^]
  39. A play on the words Sivam and mahasivo.-39- [^]
  40. See note to 21. 6. If the Tika is right in placing the Acchagalla- vihara to the east of Anuradhapura, the akasacetiya mentioned in verse 68 cannot be identical with that mentioned in 22. 26 (see the note). The site of the latter is, no doubt, in Rohana.-40- [^]
  41. I.e. in the four oldest collections of the Sutta-pitaka : Digha-, Majjhima-, Samyutta- and Anguttara-nikaya-41- [^]
  42. According to 33. 42-44 the monastery of the niganthas, the Tittharama stood outside the north gate of Anuradhapura. Since, on its place the Abhayagiri-vihara was built, it cannot be identical with the vihara of the dagaba, which is now called the Abhayagiri-dagaba, but it must be that of the now so-called Jetavana-dagaba. On the other hand, as we will see below (cf. note to 37. 33), the site of the Jetavana-vihara must be looked for south of the city where now the so-called Abhayagiri-dagaba stands. Tradition appears to have confounded one name with the other. PARKER, Ancient Ceylon, p. 299 foll.-42- [^]
  43. The king’s full name was Vattagamani Abhaya.-43- [^]
  44. The Somarama or Manisomarama, as the monastery is called 36. 8, 106, 107 (in allusion to the story in 33. 46) after the culamani entrusted to Somadevi, must be sought near the Abhayagiri-vihara, perhaps in the place of the building described by SMITHER, Anuradhapura, p. 61, which is popularly designated the ‘ Queen’s Pavilion’.-44- [^]
  45. The statement as to locality, given in our verse, points, as PARKER, Ancient Ceylon, p. 311, rightly insists, to the Lankaramadagaba, which is situated about a mile north of the Ruwanwaelidagaba. It received this name in remembrance of the place where Vattagamani had found refuge, according to 33. 51.-45- [^]
  46. I.e. ‘South Monastery.’ PARKER, I. I., p. 312, identifies the remains of the thupa belonging to this monastery with the building south of the Mahavihara, which is called by the people, ‘Elara’s sepulchre.’ See also note to 35. 5.-46- [^]
  47. I to ‘ from here’ is from the standpoint of the author, ‘out of the Mahavihara.’-47- [^]
  48. After 98 a spurious verse is interpolated : ‘To bring prosperity to the bhikkhus dwelling on the island, who belonged to the great Abhaya- (giri-community), the lord of the land, Vattagamani, made over to them the so-called patti.’ In 35. 48 patti simply means ‘revenue’.-48- [^]
  49. That is, before the Damilas dethroned him.-49- [^]
  50. Laddhabhogam, according to the Tika stands (metri causa) for laddha (=labhitva, Skt. labdhva) bhogam. But, I think, this is not necessary. We have to take laddhabhogam=laddham bhogam and ubhayahitam as predicative object.-50- [^]
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