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Buddhist India, T.W. Rhys Davids:

[Preface]  [Table of Contents][1. The Kings]  [2. The Clans and Nations]  [3. The Village]  [4. Social Grades]  [5. In the Town]  [6. Economic Conditions]  [7. Writing - The Beginnings]  [8. Writing - It's Development]  [9. Language and Literature. I. General View]  [10. Literature. II. The Pali Books]  [11. The Jataka Book]  [12. Religion - Animism]  [13. The Brahmin Position]  [14. Chandragupta]  [15. Asoka]  [16. Kanishka]  [Appendix]  [Index]

Warren, Buddhism in Translations

Pali Text Society: Dictionary of Pali Proper Names [DPPN].

See also: Weights and Measures

Buddha's india Map

Suggestion for the Next Generation:
The table below should become (as well as remaining a quick reference) a contents page linking to separate files giving extensive information on each location mentioned. Contemporary description, history, present state. Size, population, governance, personalities, suttas delivered, commerce, etc.

p.p. explains it all - p.p.


Jambudipa Thumbnail
Click this image for a much more completely detailed map on the site.

Table of Place Names

Place Name



DPPN: A town thirty yojanas from Savatthi and probably twelve from Benares. It lay between Savatthi and Rajagaha. The Buddha on several occasions, stayed at Alavi at the Aggalava shrine which was near the town. In the sixteenth year after the Enlightenment, the Buddha spent the whole of the rainy season at Alavi and preached the doctrine to 84,000 listeners. The King of Alavi was known as Alavaka and the inhabitants as Alavaka. The town later became famous as the residence of Alavaka Yakkha and of Hatthaka Alaviki. The theri, Sela was born in Alavi and was therefore known as Alavika. There was evidently a large community of monks at Alavi, some of whom seem to have chiefly occupied themselves with building viharas for themselves.


DPPN: A city in the kingdom of Anga. It was here that the Maha Assapura and Cula Assapura Suttas were preached by the Buddha.
According to the Cetiya Jataka, Assapura was built by the second of the five sons of King Upacara of Ceti, on the spot where he saw a pure white horse. It lay to the south of Sotthivati, Upacara's capital.

Baranasi, Benares

DPPN: The capital of Kasi-janapada. It was one of the four places of pilgrimage for the Buddhists - the others being Kapilavatthu, Buddhagaya and Kusinara - because it was at the Migadaya in Isipatana near Baranasi, that the Buddha preached his first sermon to the Panncavaggiya.
Benares was an important centre of trade and industry. There was direct trade between there and Savatthi, (the road passing through Bhaddiya,) and between there and Takkasila.
Baranasi evidently derives its name from the fact that it lies between the two rivers Barna and Asi.
For greater detail see separate article Barna


DPPN: The name of a tribe and a country, the capital of which was Sumsumaragiri. The Buddha went there several times in the course of his wanderings [e.g. A. ii. 61, iv. 85., etc; Vin. ii. 127; iv. 115, 198.] and three rules for the monks were laid down there. [Vin. v. 145.] Bodhirajakumara son of Udena of Kosambi [the C.H.I. (i. 175) says that the Bhagga were members of the Vajjian confederacy.], lived there, apparently as his father's viceroy, in which case the Bhagga were subject to Kosambi. The Bhagga country lay between Vesali and Savatthi.
It was while sojourning in the Bhagga-country that Moggallana was attacked by Mara entering into his stomach [M. i. 332.], and it was there that he preached the Anumana Sutta [ibid., 95]. Sirimanda and the parents of Nakula were inhabitants of the Bhagga-country, and Sigaalapita [ThagA. i 70] went there in order to meditate; there he became an arahant.
In the Apadana [Ap. ii. 359] the Bhagga are mentioned with the Karusa.

See: AN 7 58; AN 8 30


DPPN: A city in the Anga kingdom. The Buddha visited there several times and stayed sometimes at the Jatiyavana where Mendaka who lived there, came to see him. It was there that the precept was laid down forbidding monks to wear sandals. Bhaddiya was also the residence of Bhaddaji Thera and Visakha.



The capital of Anga noted for a beautiful lake and Campaka trees.
DPPN: "Campa is generally identified with a site about twenty-four miles to the east of the modern Bhagalpur, near the villages of Campanagara and Campapura."

Ceti, Cetiya

One of the 16 Provinces. DPPN: The people of Ceti seem to have had two distinct settlements: one, perhaps the older, was in the mountains probably the present Nepal...the other, probably a later colony, lay near the Yamuna, to the east, in the neighbourhood of and contiguous to the settlement of the Kurus...this part of the country corresponds roughly to the modern Bundelkhand and the adjoining region.
It was here that the first lie was told by the king: Apacara.[1] Residence of Anuruddha.

See: AN 8.30

Gaya (Bodhi-Gaya)

The town now associated with the Buddha's enlightenment - in fact it was three gavutas (5-1/4 miles) from the Bodhi-tree, located on the Neranjara River, fifteen yojanas (105 miles) from Benares. It was between the Bodhi-tree and Gaya that the Buddha first spoke to a human being (Upaka) after his enlightenment.

Bohd Gaya


A village on the road from Vesali to Bhoganagara. It was the residence of Ugga-gahapati and is described as a village of the Vajjians. The Buddha stayed there and was visited by Ugga. On his last journey he again rested in the village.


DPPN: A brahmin village in the Kosala country. It was while staying in the woodland thicket there that the Buddha preached the Ambattha Sutta [DN 3]. From this sutta, the village would seem to have been near Pokkharasadi's domain of Ukkattha. It was the residence of "Mahasa'a" brahmins. The Sutta Nipata (which spells the name as Icchanankala) mentions several eminent brahmins who lived there, among them Canki, Tarukkha, Pokkarasati, Janussoni and Todeyya. There were also two learned youths, Vasettha and Bharadvaja at Icchanankala, who, finding it impossible to bring their discussion to a conclusion, sought the Buddha, then staying in the village. Their interview with the Buddha is recorded in the Vasettha Sutta [MN 98]. Buddhaghosa says that learned brahmins of Kosala, deeply versed in the Vedas, were in the habit of meeting together from time to time at Icchanangala in order to recite the Vedas and discuss their interpretation.
According to the Sanyutta Nikaya [SN 5.54.11], the Buddha once stayed for three months in the jungle thicket at Icchanangala, in almost complete solitude, visited only by a single monk who brought him his food. But from the Anguttara Nikaya, it would appear that the Buddha was not left to enjoy the solitude which he desired, for we are told that the residents of Icchanangala, having heard of the Buddha's visit, came to him in large numbers and created a disturbance by their shouts. The Buddh had to send Nagita, who was then his personal attendant, to curb the enthusiasm of is admirers.


Outside Benares (Today known as Saranath). Location of The Deer Park, the place where Gotama taught The DhammaCakkappavattana Sutta, the first sutta, to the five friends who first accompanied him into homelessness.


A park in Savatthi, in which was built the Anathapindikarama. When the Buddha accepted Anathapindika's invitation to visit Savatthi, the latter, seeking a suitable place for the Buddha's residence, discovered this park belonging to Jetakumara. When he asked to be allowed to buy it, Jeta's reply was: "Not even if you could cover the whole place with gold coins. Anathapindika said that he would buy it at that price, and when Jeta answered that he had had no intention of making a bargain, the matter was taken before the Lords of Justice, who decided that if the price mentioned were paid, Anathapindika had the right of purchase. Anathapindika had gold brought down in carts and covered Jetavana with pieces laid side by side. The money brought in the first journey was found insufficient to cover one small spot near the gateway. So Anathapindika sent his servants back for more, but Jeta, inspired by Anathapindika's earnestness, asked to be allowed to give this spot. Anathapindika agreed and Jeta erected there a gateway, with a room over it. Anathapindika built in the grounds dwelling rooms, retiring rooms, store rooms and service halls, halls with fireplaces, closets, cloisters, halls for exercise, wells, bathrooms, ponds, open and roofed sheds, etc.) The building, of which the Gandhakuti formed a part, was evidently called the Gandhakuti-parivena, and there the Buddha would assemble the monks and address them. The site, on which stands the bed of the Buddha in the Gandhakuti, is the same for every Buddha, and is one of the unalterable sites.)

In all the amount said to have been spent in establishing the Park was 72 crores - as I understand it the coin used was the Kahapana which was square, was of a fixed weight of about 146 grains, and was usually made of copper or silver, but my recollection was that the Jetavana was paid for in gold. So, depending on which metal was used, and taking into consideration the fact that copper, at the time would have been considered much more valuable than it is today and silver and gold would not have been subjected to the manipulation of central banks as it is today (Tuesday, April 01, 2003 12:22 PM; Gold @335/oz), the price of the Jetavana would have been about $80,280,000,000 (today - Saturday, November 20, 2004 6:17 AM - with Gold @446.90/oz that would be $107,095,916,417)(Today, Tuesday, April 05, 2016 4:54 AM with gold at $1216/oz that would be $291,404,417,910) if the Kahapana was made of gold; $105,840,000 if made of silver; and $1,080,000 if made of copper.


A township which formed the eastern boundary of the Majjhimadesa (The country of Central India which was the birthplace of Buddhism and the region of its early activities). Beyond it was Mahasala. In the Buddha's time it was a prosperous place where provisions could easily be obtained. Once when the Buddha was staying in the Veluvana at Kajangala, the lay followers there heard a sermon from the Buddha and went to the nun Kajangala to have it explained in detail. [AN 10.28] On another occasion the Buddha stayed in the Mukheluvana and was visited there by Uttara, the disciple of Parasariya. There conversation is recorded in the Indriyabhavana Sutta. In the Milinda-panha, Kajangala is described as a brahmin village and is given as he place of Nagasena's birth. In the Kapota Jataka mention is made of Kajangala, and the scholiast explains that it may be the same as Benares. According to the scholiast of the Bhisa Jataka, the tree-spirit mentioned in that story was the chief resident monk in an old monastery in Kajangala, which monastry he repaired with difficulty during the time of Kassapa Buddha. Kajangala is identified with the Kie-chu-hoh-khi-lo of Hiouen Thsang, which he describes as a district about two thousand li in circumference. It may also be identical with the town Pundavardhana mentioned in the Divyavadana.


Capital city of the Sakyan clan, location of Lumbinivana, birthplace of Gotama. The country was a republic, governed by a sort of parlament or council of chiefs, ruled over by an elected "king" (we might say president); at the time of the Buddha's birth this king was the Buddha's father, Suddhodana. Location of the delivery of the Sekha Sutta,[5] the Madhupindika Sutta,[6] the 121. Mahasunnata Sutta,[7], and the Dakkhinavibhanga Sutta[8]


A town of Potters in Kuru-land. The place where the Magandiya Sutta, Mahanidana Sutta, MahaSatipatthana Sutta, and Anenjasappaya Suttas were delivered.

Koliya, Koliya

DPPN: One of the republican clans in the time of the Buddha. The Koliya owned two chief settlements - one at Ramagama and the other at Devadaha. The Commentaries contain accounts of the origin of the Koliyas. We are told that a king of Benares, named Rama, suffered from leprosy, and being detested by the women of the court, he left the kingdom to his eldest son and retired into the forest. There, living on woodland leaves and fruits, he soon recovered, and, while wandering aboüt, came across Piya, the eldest of the five daughters of Okkaka, [the founder king of the Sakkaya Clan] she herself being afflicted with leprosy. Rama, having cured her, married her, and they begot thirty-two sons. With the help of the king of Benares, they built a town in the forest, removing a big kola-tree in doing so. The city thereupon came to be called Kolanagara, and because the site was discovered on a tiger-track (vyagghapatha) it was also called Vyagghapajja. The descendants of the king were known as Koliya. According to the Kunala Jataka, when the Sakyans wished to abuse the Koliyans, they said that the Koliyans had once "lived like animals in a Kola-tree," as their name signified. The territories of the Sakyans and the Koliyans were adjacent, separated by the river Rohini. The khattiyas of both tribes intermarried, and both claimed relationship with the Buddha. A quarrel once arose between the two tribes regarding the right to the waters of the Rohini, which irrigated the land on both sides, and a bloody feud was averted only by the intervention of the Buddha. In gratitude, each tribe dedicated some of its young men to the membership of the Order, and during the Buddha’s stay in the neighbourhood, he lived alternately in Kapilavatthu and in Koliyanagara.

Attached probably to the Koliyan central authorities, was a special body of officials, presumably police, who wore a distinguishing headdress with a drooping crest (Lambaculakabhata). They bore a bad reputation for extortion and violence.

See also: D.P.P.N.: Koliya
AN 4.194


DPPN [excerpts]: Northwest of Magadha and next to Kasi. In the Buddha's time it was a powerful kingdom ruled over by Pasenadi, who was succeeded by his son Vidudabha. At this time Kasi was under the rule of Kosala. At the time of the Buddha Savatthi was the capital of Kosala. The Buddha spent the greater part of his time in Kosala, either in Savatthi or in touring in the various parts of the country, and many of the Vinaya rules were formulated in Kosala.


Capital city of the Vamsas. It's kings during the Buddha's time were Parantapa and his son Udena whom we hear of in connection with the Magandiya Sutta in the story of Samavati.
Also delivered in Kosambi, Ananda's discourse to the Brahmin Unnabha: SN 5.51.15.
DPPN gives the route from Mahissati to Rajagaha as: Ujjeni, Gonaddha, Vedisa, Vanasavhya, Kosambi, Saketa, Savatthi, Setavya, Kapilavatthu, Kusinara, Pava, Bhoganagara and Vesali.

Kuru Land

see: Kurus; below.


Kusavati was the name of a famous city mentioned as the capital of Southern Kusala in post-Buddhistic Sanskrit plays and epic poems. In the Mahabharata it is called KuSavati. It is said to have been so named after KuSa, son of Rama, by whom it was built; and it is also called KuSasthali (RD-BI)


Where in the Upavattana of Kusinara, in the Sala Grove of the Mallians, between the twin Sala trees, the utter passing away of the Tathagata took place.
'The place, Ananda, at which the believing man can say, "Here the Tathagata passed finally away in that utter passing away which leaves nothing whatever to remain behind!" is a spot to be visited with feelings of reverence and awe. [DN.16.5.20]
"This Kusinara, Ananda, was the royal city of king Maha-Sudassana, under the name of Kusavati, and on the east and on the west it was twelve leagues in length, and on the north and on the south it was seven leagues in breadth."
(See: BS.1.5.42)


Birthplace of the Buddha.
From the Times of India THURSDAY, AUGUST 01, 2002 10:30:38 AM: BHUBANESWAR: Lord Buddha, the founder of Buddhism who attained enlightenment 2,500 years ago, was born not in Nepal but in Orissa, researchers here claim.
The Buddha, they say, was born at a village that was earlier known as Lumbini near Kapileswar village on the outskirts of this city and not at the famous Lumbini in Nepal, noted archaeologist Chandrabhanu Patel says.
Patel, who is also head of the Orissa Museum, bases his claim on the findings of a research team led by him that examined rocks, inscriptions and other materials found in excavations.
Orissa has a host of ancient Buddhist sites, including Ratnagiri, Udaygiri, Lalitgiri, Kuruma, Brahmavana, Langudi and Ganiapali.
Excavators have found large domes, monasteries, sculptures and other objects of archaeological importance at these sites. The team's finding is based on research carried out at these venues.
Kalinga, as Orissa was known in that period, formed an important geographical niche between northern and southern India and maintained close trade and cultural ties with Myanmar, Sri Lanka and other Indian Ocean islands.
The turning point in Buddhist history came with Emperor Asoka's conquest of Kalinga in 261 B.C. The emperor, who later converted to Buddhism, is said to have sent his children to propagate Buddhism in Ceylon, now Sri Lanka.
A stone pillar inscription of Asoka discovered at Kapileswar in 1928 and now in Ashutosh Museum at Kolkata points to the Buddha's birthplace being in Orissa, Patel said.
"Our scholars who read and deciphered the inscription found that it carries six lines in Prakrit language and Asokan Brahami script that say that in the 20th year of his coronation Asoka worshipped at Kapileswar as Lord Buddha was born here," Patel said.
While historians say that Buddha was born at Lumbini in Nepal, Patel said, a village near Kapileswar named Lembei could well be his birthplace. The ancient name of this village was Lumbini, he claimed.
The inscription says that Asoka exempted Lumbini village from all taxes in 240 B.C. because the Buddha was born there, Patel claimed.
A broken portion of Ashoka pillar nine feet high and 12 feet in girth was found in the Bhaskareswar temple located four kilometres from Kapileswar.
Broken bells and replicas of Asoka's famous four-lion emblem recovered from these areas are also currently at the state museum, he said.
Legend has it that the Buddha entered his mother's womb as a white elephant. At Dhauli, seven kilometres from Kapileswar, Ashoka carved out the statue of an elephant along with his edict.
Patel said researchers also found four sculptures of Ashoka in Kapileswar temple premises representing four stages of his transformation from a king to a sage.
Patel discounted the ancient inscriptions in Nepal identifying that kingdom as the Buddha's birthplace. He said Asoka had not installed those inscriptions.
Patel claimed the Buddha's relics in gilded stone caskets were found during an excavation at Lalitgiri in Orissa's Jajpur district in 1985.
Archaeologists had said the stone casket contains the ashes of the Buddha, who was cremated when he attained Nirvana at the age of 80.


DPPN: A city in South India, in the Madras Presidency, and now known as Madura. It is generally referred to as Dakkhina-Madhura. Dakkhina-Madhura was the second capital of the Pandyan kingdom, and there was constant intercourse between this city and Ceylon. AN 5.220 The Five disadvantages of Madura: the ground is uneven, there is much dust, there are fierce dogs and bestial yakkhas, and alms are obtained with difficulty.


Land of the Magadhas. One of the main kingdoms of Buddha's India. It's capital was Rajagaha. Kings of the time were Bimbisara and his son Ajatasattu. Boundaries were the River Campa on the east, the Vindhya mountains on the south, the River Sona on the west and the River Ganges on the north. Sariputta and Moggallana were Magadhas.
Other places in Magadha: Ekanala, Nalakagama, Senanigama, Khanumata, Andhakavindha, Macala, Matula, Ambalatthika, Patigama, Nalanda and Salindiya.


One of the 16 provinces, with two major kingdoms whose capitals were Pava and Kusinara.


A place that became famous as a center for Buddhist studies. 1 league from Rajagaha; the journey between Rajagaha and Nalanda is the scene of the Brahmajala Sutta, first sutta of the Digha Nikaya.


Birth- and death-place of Sariputta.


A city of the Mallas near Kusinara where The Buddha ate his last meal, a gift from Cunda the Smith. Location for the Sangiti Sutta.


The capital of Magadha, one of the six great cities. During the Buddha's time ruled over by Bimbisara and later his son Ajatasattu.
Sariputta and Moggallana entered the Sangha here during the Buddha's first visit.
The location of Vulture's Peak, the Banyan Grove, Robbers' Cliff, Sattapanni cave on the slope of Mount Vebhara, Black Rock on the slope of Mount Isigili, Sitavana Grove in the mountain cave Sappasondika, Tapoda Grove, Bambu Grove, the Squirrels' Feeding Ground, Jivaka's Mango Grove, and the Deer Forest at Maddakukkhi.
The Atanatiya, Udumbarika, Kassapasihanada, Jivaka, Mahasakuladayi, and Sakkapanha suttas were delivered here.


Capital of Kosala, located on the River Aciravati. The Buddha spent twenty-five years in Savatthi and more suttas (844 according to Woodward)[2] were delivered there than in any other single location.
It was in Savatthi that the Buddha performed the miracle called "The Twins."[3]


A Kuru township


Ruled over as by a king, by the Brahman Todeyya.


A Kosalan township. Ruled over as if by a king by the brahman Pokkharasati. Location of the SuBhagavana where the Mulapariyaya Sutta was delivered.


[from DPPN]: The capital of Avanti. In the Buddha's time, Canda-Pajjota was king of Ujjeni and there ws friendly intercourse between that city and Magadha, whose king was Seniya Bimbisara. There was an old trade-route from Ujjeni to Benares and the merchants of the two cities showed healthy rivalry not only in trade, but also in matters of culture. Ujjeni was the birthplace of Maha Kaccana, Isidasi, Abhaya and of the courtesan Padumavati, mother of Abhaya.


[DPPN]: "A locality on the banks of the Neranjara, in the neighbourhood of the Bodhi-tree at Buddhagaya. Here, after leaving Alara and Uddaka, the Bodhisatta practiced during six years the most severe prenances. ... In the neighbourhood of Uruvela were also the Ajapala Banyan-tree, the Mucalinda-tree, and the Rajayatana-tree, where theBuddha spent some time afterhis Enlightenment, and where various shrines, cuch as the Animisa-cetiya, the Ratanacankama-cetiya and the Tatanaghara later came into existence. From Uruvela the Buddha went ot Isipatana, but after he had made sixty-one arahants and sent them out ton tour to preach the Doctrine, he returned to Uruvela, to the Kappasikavanasanda and converted the Bhaddavaggiya."

It is here that Gotama hesitated to teach and Brahma Sahampati entreated him to do so. A story told in several locations: SN 1.6.1, Vin. Texts. i, 84 f., Dialogues, ii, 29 f.


A Malla town, location for the delivery of Kindred Sayings, IV, The Salayatana Book, #11: Lucky, pp 232ff., #12: Rasiya, ppp234; V, The Great Chapter, Kindred Sayings on the Faculties, vi, #1: Sala PTS, Woodward trans., and Gradual Sayings, IV: The Book of the Nines, The Great Chapter, x #41: Tapusa, pp293 PTS, E.M. Hare "Now what is the cause, what is the reason my mind does not leap up, calm down, stand upright and bend towards letting go even though I understand it to be "The Peace"? It is because the danger of pleasures is not seen by me, not made a big deal of, the advantage of giving up is not experienced by me!"


Capital city of the Licchavis, a clan of the Vajjians. Location for the delivery of the Ratana Sutta. and Vesali Sutta. It was here that at the request of Ananda, Mahapajapa' ti. plea that women be allowed to join the order was granted.[4] It was here also, that Gotama renounced the remainder of his lifespan and determined that he would die at the end of three months. According to PDPN: "At the time of the Buddha, Vesali was a very large city, rich and prosperous, crowded with people and with abundant food. There were seven thousand seven hundred and seven pleasure grounds, and an equal number of lotus ponds."

Velukanda, aka Velukanta

A city in Avanti, birthplace of Nanda Kumaputta. Moggallana and Sariputta visited the place in the course of a journey in Dakkhinagiri and were entertained by Nandamata. [AN 7.50] Buddhaghosa says that the city was so called because bamboos were thickly planted for protection round the walls and fortifications.


If you click on the small map linking to the large detailed map you can find Veranja to the North West of Savatthi on the Yamuna River. It looks like it was in the state of Pancala. Suttas delivered there include AN 8.11 AN 8 19. It was at this place after the conversation recorded in AN 8.11, that Gotama endured three months of subsistance on oats as a consequence of an ancient mis-deed.



The Middle Country

Warren: Buddhism in Translations pp41:

The Middle Country is the country defined in the Vinaya as follows: -

"It lies in the middle, on this side of the town Kajangala on the east, beyond which is Maha-Sala, and beyond that the border districts. It lies in the middle, on this side of the river Salalavati on the southeast, beyond which are the border districts. It lies in the middle, on this side of the town Setakannika on the south, beyond which are the border districts. It lies in the middle, on this side of the Brahmanical town Thuna on the west, beyond which are the border districts. It lies in the middle, on this side of the hill Usiraddhaja on the north, beyond which are the border districts."



The Four Major Kingdoms

Buddhist India, T.W. Rhys Davids, pp.3:
In those parts of India which came very early under the influence of Buddhism, we find ... four kingdoms of considerable extent and power ...
1. The kingdom of Magadha, with its capital at Rajagaha (afterwards at Pataliputta), reigned over at first by King Bimbisara and afterwrds by his son Ajatasattu.
2. To the north-west there was the kingdom of Kosala - the Northern Kosala - with its capital at Savatthi, ruled over at first by King Pasenadi and afterwards by his son Vidudabha.
3. Southwards from Kosala was the kingdom of the Vamsas or Vatsas, with their capital at Kosambi on the Jumna, reigned over by King Udena, the son of Parantapa.
4. And still farther south lay the kingdom of Avanti, with its capital Ujjeni, reigned over by King Pajjota.



The Five Great Rivers

The Ganga, Jambudipa, Yamuna, Aciravati, Sarabhu, and Mahi.



The Sixteen Provinces of Buddhist India

PED: The 16 provinces of Buddhist India are comprised in the solasa maha-janapada (Miln 350) enumd at A I.213=IV.252 sq.=Nd2 247 (on Sn 1102) as follows: Anga, Magadha (+Kalinga, Nd2] Kasi, Kosala, Vajji, Malla, Ceti (Cetiya A IV.), Vamsa (Vanga A I.), Kuru, Pancala, Majja (Maccha A), Surasena, Assaka, Avanti, Yona (Gandhara A), Kamboja. Cp. Rhys Davids, B. India p. 23.




T.W.Rhys Davids: Buddhist India pp 23 ff:

1. The Angas dwelt in the country to the east of Magadha, having their capital a Champa, near the modern Bhagalpur. Its boundaries are unknown. In the Buddha's time it was subject to Magadha, and we never hear of its having regained independence. But in former times it was independent, and there are traditions of wars between these neighbouring countries. The Anga raja in the Buddha's time was simply a wealthy nobleman, and we only know of him as the grantor of a pension to a particular brahmin.

2. The Magadhas, as is well known, occupied the district now called Behar. It was probably then bounded to the north by the Ganges, to the east by the river Champa, on the south by the Vindhya Mountains, and on the west by the river Sona. In the Buddha's time (that is, inclusive of Anga) it is said to have had eighty thousand villages and to have been three hundred leagues (about twenty three hundred miles) in circumference.

3. The Kasis are of course the people settled in the district around Benares. In the time of the Buddha this famous old kingdom of the Bharatas had fallen to so low a political level that the revenues of the townships had become a bone of contension betdween Kosala and Magadha, and the kingdom itself was incorporated into Kosala. Its mention in this list is historically important, as we must conclude that the memory of it as an independent state was still fresh in men's minds. This is confirmed by the very frequent mention of it as such in the Jatakas, where it is said to have been over two thousand miles in circuit. But it never regained independence, and its boundaries are unknown.

4. The Kosalas were the ruling clan in the kingdom whose capital was Savatthi, in what is now Nepal, seventy miles north-west of the modern Gorakhpur. It included Benares and Saketa; and probably had the Ganges for its sosuthern boundary, the Gandhak for its eastern boundary, and the mountains for its northern boundary. The Sakiyas already achkowledged, in the seventh century B.C., the suzerainty of Kosala.

It was the rapid rise of this kingdom of Kosala, and the inevitable struggle in the immediate future between it and Magadha, which was the leading point in the politics of the Buddha's time. These hardy mountaineers had swept into their net all the tribes between the mountains and the Ganges. Their progress was arrested on the east by the free clans. And the struggle between Kosala and Magadha for the paramount power in all India was, in fact, probably decided when the powerful confederation of the Licchavis became arrayed on the side of Magadha. Several successful invasions of Kasi by the Kosalans under their kings, Vanka, Dabbasena, and Kamsa, are referred to a date before the Buddha's time. And the final conquest would seem to be ascribed to Kamsa, as the epithet "Conqueror of Benares" is a standing addition to his name.

5. The Vajjians included eight confederate clans, of whom the Licchavis and the Videhans were the most important. It is very interesting to notice that while tradition makes Videha a kingdom in earlier times, it describes it in the Buddha's time as a republic. Its size, as a separate kingdom, is said to have been three hundred leagues (about one hundred miles) in circumference. Its capital, Mithita, was about thirty-five miles north-west from Vesali, the capital of the Licchavis. There it was that the great King Janaka ruled a little while before the rise of Buddhism. And it is probable that the modern town of Janak-pur preserves in its name a memory of this famous rajput scholar and philosopher of olden time.

6. The Mallas of Kusinara and Pava were also independent clans, whose territory, if we may trust the Chinese pilgrims, was on the mountain slopes to the east of the Sakiya land, and to the north of the Vajjian confederation. But some would place it south of the Sakiyas and east of the Vajjians.

7. The Cetis were probably the same tribe as that called Cedi in older documents, and had two distinct settlements. One, probably the older, was in the mountains, in what is now called Nepal. The other, probably a later colony, was near Kosambi to the east and has been even confused with the land of the Vamsa, from which this list makes them distinct.

8. Vamsa is the country of the Vacchas, of which Kosambi, properly only the name of the capital, is the more familiar name. It lay immediately to the north of Avanti, and along the banks of the Jumna.

9. The Kurus occupied the country of which Indraprastha, close to the modern Delhi, was the capital; and had the Panchalas to the east and the Matsyas to the south. Tradition gives the kingdom a circumference of two thousand miles. They had very little political importance in the Buddha's time. It was at Kammassa-dhamma in the Kuru country that several of the most important Suttantas - the Maha Satipatthana, for instance, and the Maha Nidana - were delivered. And Ratthapala was a Kuru noble.

10. The two Pancalas occupied the country to the east of the Kurus, between the mountains and the Ganges. Their capitals were Kampilla and Kanoj.

11. The Macchas, or Matsyas, were to the south of the Kurus and west of the Jumna, which separated them from the Southern Pancalas.

12. The Surasenas, whose capital was Madhura, were immediately south-west of the Macchas, and west of the Jumna.

13. The Assakas had, in the Buddha's time, a settlement on the banks of the Godhavari. Their capital was Potana, or Potali. The country is mentioned with Avanti in the same way as Anga is with Magadha, and its position on this list, between Surasena and Avanti, makes it probable that, when the list was drawn up, its position was immediately north-west of Avanti. In that case the settlement on the Godhavari was a later colony; and this is confirmed by the fact that there is no mention of Potana (or Potali) there. The name of the tribe is also ambiguous. Sanskrit authors speak both of A.smaka and of A.svaka. Each of these would be Assaka, both in the local vernacular and in Pali. And either there were two distinct tribes so called, or the Sanskrit form A.svaka is a wrong reading, or a blunder in the Sanskritisation of Assaka.

14. Avanti, the capital of which was Ujjeni, was ruled over by King Canda Pajjota (Pajjota the Fierce) referred to above. The country, much of which is rich land, had been colonised or conquered by Aryan tribes who came down the Indian valley, and turned west from the Gulf of Kach. It was called Avanti at least as late as the second century A.D., but from the seventh or eighth century onwards it was called Matava.

15. Gandhara, modern Kandahar, was the district of Eastern Afghanistan, and it probably included the north-west of the Panjab. Its capital was Takkasila. The Kinig of Gandhara in the Buddha's time, Pukkusati, is said to have sent an embassy and a letter to King Bimbisara of Magadha.

16. Kamboja was the adjoining country in the extreme north-west, with Dvaraka as its capital.



Highways (Trade Routes)

from: Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, pp103ff

1. North to South-west. Savatthi to Patitthana (Paithan) and back. The principal stopping places are given[1] (beginning from the south) as Mahissati, Ujjeni, Gonaddha, Vedisa, Kosambi, and Saketa.

2. North to South-east. Savatthi to Rajagaha. It is curious that the route between these two ancient cities is never, so far as I know, direct, but always along the foot of the mountains to a point north of Vesali, and only then turning south to the Ganges. By taking this circuitous road the rivers were crossed at places close to the hills were the fords were more easy to pass. But political considerations may also have had their weight in the original choice of this route, still followed when they were no longer of much weight.[2] The stopping places were (beginning at Savatthi), Setavya, Kapilavastu, Kusinara, Pava, Hatthi-gama, Bhandagama, Vesali, Pataliputta, and Nalanda. The road probably went on to Gaya, and there met another route from the coast, possibly at Tamralipti, to Benares.[3]

3. East to West. The main route was along the great rivers, along which boats plied for hire. We even hear of express boats. Upwards the rivers were used along the Ganges as far west as Sahajati,[4] and along the Jumna as far west as Kosambi.[5] Downwards, in later times at least, the boats went right down to the mouths of the Ganges, and thence either across or along the coast to Burma.[6] In the early books we hear only of the traffic downward as far as Magadha, that is, to take the farthest point, Champa. Upwards it went thence to Kosambi, where it met the traffic from the south (Route 1), and was continued by cart to the south-west and north-west.

Besides the above we are told of traders going from Videha to Gandhara,[7] from Magadha to Sovira,[8 from Bharukaccha round the coast to Burma,[9] from Benares down the river to its mouth and thence on to Burma,[10] from Champa to the same destination.[11] In crossing the desert west of Rajputana the caravans are said[12] to travel only in the night, and to be guided by a "land-pilot," who, just as one does on the ocean, kept the right route by observing the stars. The whole description of this journey is too vividly accurate to life to be an invention. So we may accept it as evidence not only that there was a trade route over the desert, but also that pilots, guiding ships or caravans by the stars only, were well known.

In the solitary instance of a trading journey to Babylon (averu) we are told that it was by sea, but the port of departure is not mentioned.[13] There is one story, the world-wide story of the Sirens, who are located in Tambapanni-dipa, a sort of fairy land, which is probably meant for Ceylon.[14] Lanka does not occur. Traffic with China is first mentioned in the Milinda (pp. 127, 327, 359), which is some centuries later.


[1] In S.N. 1011-1013.

[2] Sutta Nipata loc. cit., and Digha, 2.

[3] Vinaya Texts, I. 81.

[4] Ibid. 3. 401

[5] Ibid. 3. 382

[6] That is at Thaton, then called Suvanna-bhumi, the Gold Coast, See Dr. Mabel Bode in the Sa.sana Vamsa, p. 12.

[7] Jat. 3. 365

[8] V.V.A. 370.

[9] Jat. 3. 188.

[10] Ibid. 4. 15-17.

[11] Ibid. 6. 32-35.

[12] Ibid. I. 108.

[13] Ibid. 3. 126. Has the foreign country called Seruma (Jat. 3. 189) any connection with Sumer or the land of Akkad?

[14] Jat. 2. 127.



The Ten Sounds Of A Big City

The noise of elephants, and the noise of horses, and the noise of chariots; the sounds of the drum, of the tabor, and of the lute; the sound of singing, and the sounds of the cymbal and of the gong; and lastly, with the cry, "Eat, drink, and be merry!"



Locations of the Buddha's Rainy Season Residences

Commencing from the very first day of attaining Buddhahood on the fullmoon day of Kason (about May) in the year 103 Maha Era (589 B.C.), the Buddha spent the rainy seasons (Vassa) at the following places:

Rainy Season



Deer Park, Isipatana, Baranasi

2nd,3rd and 4th

Veluvana Monastery, Rajagaha


Pinnacled Hall, Kutagarasala, Great Forest Mahavana Vesali


Makula Hill


Tavatimsa Celestial Realm


Bhesakala Deer Park, Sam sumara-giri, Bhagga Province




Palileyyaka Grove


Nalikarama Monastery, Nalaka Brahmin Village


at the foot of Naleru Neem Tree, Veranja Province


Caliya Hill


Jetavana Monastery, Savatthi


Nigrodharama Monastery, Kapilavatthu


near Alavi


Veluvana Monastery, Rajagaha


Caliya Hill


Veluvana Monastery, Rajagaha

21st to 38th

Jetavana Monastery, Savatthi

39th to 44th

Pubbarama Monastery, Savatthi


Veluva Village



[1] AKA Devadatta, see: DhammaTalk: The First Lie

[2] KS. v. xviii (DPPN: II: 1127)

[3] I hear tell this is a work of power only possible to Buddhas. It was apparently done numerous times by Gotama, but the most famous occasion was at the time when he laid down the rule that Bhikkhus were not to perform such feats in the presence of laymen. When the ajavikas heard of this rule they sensed an opportunity, and went around saying that they could match feat-for-feat any deed of the Bhikkhus. The Buddha, stating that this rule did not apply to himself, took up the challenge and stated that in seven days he would perform "The Twins" outside the city gates of Savatthi under a mango tree. Well then the Ajavikas went and uprooted every mango tree for a mile around the city, but this did not disturb the Buddha. On the day of the feat, he was given a mango to eat for lunch, and he instructed Ananda to plant the seed outside the city. Ananda did so, and the tree grew instantly to full height. This feat is performed by "Preaching while walking back and forth." It consists of presenting the body split into four sections (imagine a split-screen view of a body on your TV); the top two sections consist of one side showing the profile view and one side showing the facing view; the bottom two sections show the same, but on opposite sides. Multi-colored lights radiate out from the body, while each of the four sections alternate opposing displays of the four elements: the facing half of the upper portion, for example spewing fire from the mouth, while the profile side spews water from the ear.
During the performance of this feat several million individuals were apparently able to attain the state of Streamwinner, and it is after this event, so the story goes, that the Buddha went to the Tusita realm and preached the Abhidhamma to his mother. ...a story I simply cannot buy...and I don't have any trouble buying the story of the performance of this feat...I wonder if anyone has dealt with the issue as to whether or not the future Buddhas that wait their turn in Tusita are Streamwinners or Non-returners or whether they begin in their last birth on Earth, from scratch? answer my own question, I believe it is a matter of doctrine that the idea of the SmmasamBuddha depends on the bodhisatva discovering The Way for himself, unassisted. This means he must not even be a Streamwinner at the time of the Great Renunciation. This means that the Buddha would have been wasting his time teaching the Abhidhamma to his mother, and I do not think the Buddha's deliberately waste their time. They may teach someone who asks a question knowing that individual will not understand the answer, but I do not think they would go out of their way to teach someone that would not understand.

[4]The Rules for female Bhikkhus, The Bhikkhuni Patimokkha The Bhikkhunis' Code of Discipline, Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

[5]Majjhima Nikaya I: 53. Sekha Sutta, I.353; WP: The Disciple in Higher Training, 460; PTS: Discourse for Learners, II.18

[6]Majjhima Nikaya I: 18. Madhupindika Sutta, I.108; WP: The Honey Ball, 201; PTS: Discourse of the Honey-ball, I.141; ATI: The Ball of Honey

[7]See: Majjhima Nikaya III:122. Mahasunnata Sutta, The Greater Discourse on Voidness the Nanamoli/Bodhi translation, and The Greater Discourse on Emptiness, the Horner translation.

[8]Majjhima Nikaya III: 142. Dakkhinavibhanga Sutta, III.253; BD: Advantage: Giver (Discussion); WP: The Exposition of Offerings, 1102; PTS: Discourse on the Analysis of Offerings, III.300

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