16: The Acceptance of the Cetiyapabbata Vihara

Going into the city for alms and showing favour to the people (by preaching); eating in the king’s house and showing favour to the king (by preaching) the thera dwelt twenty-six days in the Mahamegha-grove. But when, on the thirteenth day of the bright half of the month Asalha ((1-See note to 1. 12.)), the lofty-souled (thera) had eaten in the great king’s house and had preached (to him) the Mahappamada-suttanta, ((2-I.e. ‘Great discourse on vigilance.’ There are several suttas in S., bearing the title appamadasutta. See note to 5. 68.)) he went thence, for he would fain have a vihara founded on the Cetiya-mountain, ((3-The later name of the Missaka-mountain, given on account of the many shrines built there. See note to 13. 14.)) departing by the east gate (he went) to the Cetiya-mountain.

When the king heard that the thera had gone thither he mounted his car, and taking the two queens with him he followed hard after the thera. When the theras had bathed in the Nagacatukka-tank ((4-See note to 14. 36)) they stood in their due order to go up to the mountain-top. Then the king stepped down from the car and stood there respectfully greeting the theras. ‘Wherefore, O king, art thou come wearied by the heat?’ they said; and on the reply: ‘Troubled by your departure am I come,’ the theras answered: ‘We are come to spend the rain-season even here,’ and he who was versed in the rules ((5-Lit. who was versed in the khandhas, i. e. the sections of the vinaya (CHILDERS, s.v. vinayo). The vassupanayika khandhaka is Mahavagga III (OLDENBERG, the Vin. Pit. i, p. 137 foll. ; S.B.E. xiii, p. 298 foll.). During the rainy season the bhikkhus were forbidden to travel, but used to live together in a vihara. See KERN, Manual, p. 80 foll., on the vassavasa.)) (of the order), expounded to the king the chapter concerning the vassa.

When the king’s nephew, the chief minister Maharittha, who stood near the king with his fifty-five elder and younger brothers, heard this, after seeking the king’s leave, they received the pabbajjä that very day from the thera, and all these wise men attained to arahantship even in the shavinghall. ((6-Where, as is the rule at the admission of bhikkhus, their hair was shaved off.))

When the king, on that same day, had made a beginning with the work of building sixty-eight rock-cells about (the place where) the Kantaka-cetiya (afterwards stood), he returned to the city; but the theras remained in that spot, going at the appointed time, full of compassion (for the people) to the city to beg alms there.

When the work on the rock-cells was finished, on the fullmoon day of the month Asalha, the king came and gave the vihara to the theras as a consecrated offering.

When the thera, who had passed beyond the boundaries (of evil) had established the boundaries for the thirty-two mälakas ((7-See note to 15. 29.)) and the vihara, then did he on the very same day in the Tumbaru-malaka, which was marked out as the first of all, confer the upasampada on all those who were weary of the pabajja. ((8-Pabbajjapekkhanam stands for pabbajja-upekkhanam. Maharittha and his brothers have only received the pabbajja or first ordination a few days before (see 11), but they already long for the higher ordination, the upasampada.)) And these sixty-two arahants, taking up their abode during the rain-season all together on the Cetiya mountain, showed favour to the king (by their teaching).

And, in that the hosts of gods and men drew near with reverence to him, the leader of the host (of his disciples), and to his company that had attained to wide renown for virtue, they heaped up great merit.

Here ends the sixteenth chapter, called ‘The Acceptance of the Cetiyapabbata-vihara’, in the Mahavamsa, compiled for the serene joy and emotion of the pious.

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