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The life and work of Buddhaghosa

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The life and work of Buddhaghosa 1923

The Life And Work Buddhaghosa


Author, Ksatriya Clans in- Buddhist India, Historical Gleanings, etc.

With A Foreword By Mrs. C. a. F. Rhys Davids, D.Litt., M.A. Fellow of University College, London. Author, A Buddhist Manual of Psychological Ethics, Buddhist Psychology y Buddhism, Psalms of the Early Buddhism, Dialogues of the Buddha, etc. , /7c. •

The Bo-Tree at Bodhgava.

Calcutta Oriental Series

Author, Kshatriya Clans in Buddhist India,' Historical Gleanings, etc.

With A Foreword By

AIRS. C. A. F. Rhys Davids, D.Litt., M.A. ..


To My Teachers And Friends.

Foreword

I SET down here at the author's request a few words of introduction to his book on Buddhaghosa and his works. But Mr. Bimala Charan I^aw as an investigator in that unharvested field, needs no introduction.

By me Hes his prolegomenon to it, published over two years ago, in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. In that essay, he drew up a list of 14 questions on his present subject.

All were of historical interest. All would have to be discussed in any critical history of Buddhaghosa' s work. He had there no scope to deal with any one of them. Here the titles of his chapters taken together virtually cover those 14 questions.

His book will be by no means a last word on the subject. It will be relatively easy for European scholars, less un- daunted than Mr. I^aw, to carry forward their work 'when we get all that has been ascribed to Buddhaghosa printed in Roman letter. But the book is all the mofe needed now as a very useful compendium of what we yet know of Buddha- ghosa, both from his own works and from other documents.

Theories about the great commentator are crop- ping up. They rest on a more or less slender basis of evidence from lack of more historical prolegomena such as this book affords. We have recently assisted in pubhshing Mr. Nagai's theory that the Visuddhi-magga is in reality a revised version of Upatissa's Vimutti-magga." (J.P.T.vS., 1917-19, p. 80.) And M. Louis Finot has lately drawn attention to the plausibility of the conclusion, that in ' Buddhaghosa ' we may have no historical man, but a myth of the name, a myth of ' Buddha- vacana/ on which are fathered the works usual' ascribed to the person who was the con- temporary of Buddhadatta.

The disciple, it would seem, is to undergo, for a time, a fate analogous to that which befel his Master. Mr. Law has gone deeper into the works ascribed to Buddhaghosa than any other English-writing author ; he has gone deeper into the works referring to Buddhaghosa than most men. And for him, the great commentator is still a historically real man, teaching and writing in the fifth centur}' A.D. in Ce5don, as he may now be teaching and writing, it may be on earth, it may be in another world.

Here I have but one point of contributory matter to make. The title of Chapter VIII in this book, as sent me by Mr. Law, is entitled ' Interpretation of Buddhism.'

There is so much in this word ' Buddhism ' -to interpret. In m}" Buddhist Psychology (Quest Series, London, 1914, Ch. IX), I made the* attempt to set down a few instances where Buddhaghosa was the spokesman of inte^resting developments in Buddhist psychological ideas.

I also dragged in instances of equally interesting philosophical growth, such as the attempt to analyse the nature of relation in terms of causality. Since that year I have had the privilege of preparing a provisional edition of the Visuddhi-magga for European readers.

(To have edited a work from existing Asiatic edi- tions is a little matter ; to have been the first to get it into Roman letter is a high privilege). This has naturally left me a little less ignorant than before. I noted that Buddha- ghosa referred often — 21 times to a certain academic tradition which he calls Pordna and Pordnakathd — 'the 'talk/ or 'teaching of the Men of Old'— a number of views metricallv expressed. And he follows that tradition, at least, where he quotes it. Just as he clinches a doctrine by falling back on the word of the Exalted One in the Suttanta, so else- where it is enough for him to call in those Men of Old and say 'as the P or anas said.'


These Pordnas were not included among the Canonical compilers, or the^^ would be quoted as such. They appear to have been of later date. They are the ' Fathers ' of the Theravada Sasana.

They represent, in so far as they speak philosophically, the philosoph}^ built up on the simpler archaically expressed teachings of the Suttas. They were cultured men according to the light of their day. But the} were working along a line of thinking that was ' orthodox,' and therefore no longer free. And the^^ do not represent the missionary mood of the Sutta teachers, anxious above all things to ' save souls.'

They were the bookn*ien, the academicians, the cloistered scribes of the new predominant ' Buddhist ' culture. x\nd they were doing good work in an orphaned church. It is no small matter to be wise leaders in any cult. It is a great matter to be wise in a cult which had, by the teaching of its Great Founder, cut itself adrift from doctrines and beliefs that form the support of every other religion. After all, do any after-born teachers hand on unallo5^ed the truths revealed to and by an inspired Helper of men ?

They are concerned to be not so much creative, as explicative, and interpretative. Thus diverted, their mental energy outpaces their knowledge and forces their logic. So these ' Fathers ' pondered on fundamental tenets such as Anicca, Anatta, on the deliberate reservations and silences of the Founder concerning the First and Last things of Life, on a Dhamma revealed by a man which should replace for a while the faiths in debased theologies and animisms, and foster the ' Divine Life ' (Brahmachariya) between man and man.

So pondering the}^ improved, or thought the} improved, on the man's simpler teaching. By a logic of 'Anicca and Anatta, and an ignorance of how life . survives, they denied (as he did not) that there was ' a going on, a running on' of the person from -one world to another at death. They denied (as he did not) that sentient life or sansara was ever initiated by Deity.


I see that Mr. Law has not anticipated me on this point (I have touched on it in the x\fterword to the Visuddhi- magga edition), and I have not seen it treated as it deserves by oth^r writers. I make no reference to developments of Buddhist Philosophy in the N. and E. of Asia. I speak only of the relatively narrow world in which t]ie good and learned Buddhaghosa-cariya moved and thought and wrote — a striking embodiment of the meticulous erudition, the piety, the complacent sectarian view, the amazing credulity, the absence of curiosity as to the greater world so characteristic of his epoch. And I anticipate that our knowledge of his little world, and his interpretation of its ' Buddhism ' will be placed on a


Buddhaghosa was the most celebrated commentator of the Theravada School of Buddhism. An attempt has been made in the present treatise to build up a connected history of the life and labours of the distinguished exegete. In the first chapter, I have attempted to put together the materials for a life-history of Buddhaghosa as culled from his own works as well as from Dhammakitti's account recorded in the Mahavariisa. The second chapter deals with the legends which grew about our commentator as mentioned in the Buddhaghosuppatti, the Sasanavamsa and similar works.

Much importance cannot be attached to these legends as they are of little value from the historical point of view. The third chapter treats of the origin and development of Buddhist commentaries, and an important branch of the, Bud- dhist literature, namely, that of the Poranas has been ex- amined in it. I am indeed thankful to Mjs. 'Rhys Davids for kindly drawing my attention to this point.

In the fourth chapter dealing with the works of Buddhaghosa, I have discussed about the ascription of the authorship of the Dhammapada commentary to our commentator. A Sanskrit poem, Padyacudamani, attributed to Buddhaghosa and lately published by the Government of Madras, has also been noticed in it. I have omitted the Jataka commentary from my list of the works of Buddhaghosa although this may appear to be somewhat astounding to many.

A careful comparison of the style and language of the Jataka commentary with the style and language of the works of Buddhaghosa shows con- vmcingly that the Jataka commentary was not the composition of Buddhaghosa. I agree with T. W. Rhys Davids when he says that the date of this Jataka commentary is unknown. I am not prepared to accept the native tradition in Ceylon that the original Jataka book was written in Sinhalese and was translated into Pali by Buddhaghosa ; and the Sinhalese original was afterwards lost as Cowell says in his preface to the first volume of the Jataka. In the opening verses of the Jataka commentar}^, the name of the author is not mentioned. Childers goes so far as to identify the author of the Jataka commentary with Buddhaghosa.

I have great doubt as to the correctness of the theory that Buddhaghosa was the author of the Jataka commentary. But there is no satisfactory evidence to set the controversy at rest one way or the other.

Chapter V treats of the success9rs of Buddhaghosa. An account has been given in the following chapter of the versatile intellect of Buddhaghosa and the encyclopaedic "Character of his works^. In this chapter I have also devoted a few pages to an account of Buddhaghosa' s knowledge of anatomy.

The commentator never fails to sa^^ a few words about the subject whenever he has the chance. In the Visuddhimagga in the commentaries on the Khuddaka- Patha and the Vibhariga, he makes repeated references to matters of anatomical interest.

He is rather learned for his day in anatomy and takes care that his readers should know it, as Mrs. Rhys Davids points out. Chapters VII and VIII deal with his philosophy and interpretation of Buddhism. Many knotty points of Buddhist philosophy and many important terms of Buddhist doctrine received lucid treatment at his hands. Many other important points connected with the history of Buddhaghosa, as for example, the commentator's knowledge as to the details of Vedic sacrifices, have also been treated in the following pages.

It is not an easy task to construct a connected biography of Buddhaghosa, as most of his works are buried in man- uscripts. Some of his works have been printed in Ceylonese and Burmese characters. The Pali Text Society of England have published some in Roman character.

I have tried to utilize almost all his works as well as the documents that furnish any information regarding him. The present treatise is, I believe, the first of its kind and about four years ago, at the request of ray teacher, the late Mahamahopadhyaya Dr. Satish Chunder Vid3abhusana, M.A., Ph.D., I wrote a prolegomenon to it under the name, A Note on Buddhaghosa's commentaries" which was pub- lished in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal.

I am indebted to Mrs. Rhys Davids, D.Iyitt., M.A., who has been kind enough to help me with many valuable sugges- tions and to write a foreword to the present work. I am also indebted to Mr. Haran Chunder Chakladar, M.A., and Dr, Hem Chunder Rai Chowdhury, M.A., Ph.D., P.R.S. for their suggestions. I am thankful to Dr. Narendranath Ivaw for including this humble treatise in his Calcutta Oriental Series.

My thanks are due to the Offg. Director-General of Archaeology, India ; Superintendent, Archaeological Survey , Central Circle, Patna; Mr. Ramaprasad Clianda, B.A.,


The Life Of Buddhaghosa

In the history of Pali Buddhist hterature, the name of Buddhaghosa stands out pre-eminent as TSosa" that of the greatest commentator and exegetist. , Buddhaghosa did for the Pah Tripitaka what Sayana^id for Vedic hterature. Many a word and expression, many points of Buddhist theology and many cruces of philosophy would not have been clearl^^ intelhgibe to later generations but for the immense labour that Buddhaghosa bestowed upon the exegesis of the Pali texts. Besides mere verbal glosses and philological discussions, '{Buddhaghosa has introduced in his commentaries an im- mense mass of legen4s and fables, folk-tales and traditions, history and biography, which has made his works a huge store-house from which the historian of ancient Indian socio- logy can draw without end.' Our great regret, however, is that very little is known about the history of this great expounder

of the Buddha's words. Buddhaghosa was one of those many Indian celebrities who have left for us no other records of their career than their teachings and works to be appraised for what they are worth. This is, however, precisely the fate which the great sons of India themselves sincerely desired.

It is comforting to think that what they have concealed from us is but the details of their daily life, their worries and anxieties, andl^ what they have given us is the most valuable record of their inner life and ex- perience, y And yet while reading through their works, we feel a burning desire to know something about the persons them- selves, to live over again with them the life they actuality lived, the things they actually saw, and, above all, to prepp.re ourselves by their examples to fight the great battle of life and to confront once more the deeper problems of humanity. These are the feelings that come irresistibly ; but the materials to build up a biography are scanty.

So far as Budddaghosa is concerned, we have nothing except his commentaries and a few tradilife-history of Buddha- tious and legends. To make a close and careful study of his commentaries and to separate the few grains of biographical detail from the mass of extraneous matter is a Herculean task ; the traditions preserved are so meagre and so much coloured by the after- thoughts of the later ages of credulity that it seems at first sight to be an impossible task to obtain any reliable in- formation from them. And yet in the last resort these late traditions and myths are the only, materials on which an authentic account of his life-history has to be based. Besides the meagre references that Buddhaghosa himself has made to the details of his life in his great commentaries, the earliest connected account that has come down to us of his life-history, is that contained in the second part of chapter XXXVII of the great Ceylonese chronicle, the Mahavaiiisa.


This section, however, is considered to be later than the remaining portions of the chronicle, having been added by Dhammakitti, a Ceylonese Sramana of the middle of the 13th century. This compilation of the great commentator's life- histor}, though made after the lapse of more than eight hundred years since the time when he lived, is not altogether unworthy of credence and is very probably derived from ol(|er materials; our only regret is that it tells us so little. We make, therefore, no apology for giving here the whole of the brief account furnished by Dhammakitti.

The Mahavaiiisa, while giving an account of the reign of king Mahanama who ruled in Ce5don in Dhammakitti's account of Buddha- the early years or the filth century A. C, narrates the following story about the life and labours of Buddhaghosa.'


Vijjasippakalavedi tisu vedesu parage, Sammavinnatas'amayo sabbavadavisarado, , Vadatthi JambudipariiM ahindanto pavadino Vihararh ekarii agamma rattim Patanjali-matam parivatteti sampunnapadaih suparimandalaiii. Tatth'eko Revato nama mahathero vijaniya, ' Mahapanfio ayaiir satto, dametuih vattatiti ' so ' Kg nu gadrabharavena viravanto'ti abruvi, ' gadrabhanaiii rave attharii kimjanasiti' aha taiii. ' Ahaih jane ' ti vutto so otaresi sakriiii matam, Vuttaiii vuttam viyakasi virodhaiii pi ca dassayi, ' Tena hi tvarii sakaih vadarii otarehi,' ca codito palirii ahabhidhammassa, atthaih assa naso'dhiga. Aha: ' kass'eso manto' ti, ' Buddhamanto' ti so'bruvi, ' dehi me tan ' ti vutte hi ' ganha pabbajja tain ' iti. IVIantatthi pabbajitvii so ngganhi Pitakattayahi, born in the neighbourhood of the terrace of the great Bo-tree (in Magadha), accompHshed in the 'vijja' and 'sippa/ who

' ekayano ayaiii maggo' iti paccha tarn aggahi. Buddhassa viya gambhiraghosatta nam viyakarurii ' Buddhaghosa ti, so sobhi ' Buddho viya raahitale. Tattha Xanodayam nama katva pakaranam tada Dhammasanganiyakasi kandaiii so Atthasaliniiii. Parittatthakathaii c'eva katuih arabhi buddhima, tarn disva Revato thero idaih vacanarii abruvi : ' Palimattamidhanitam, n'atthi Atthakatha idha, tathacariyavada ca bbinnarupa na vijjare, Sibaiatthakatha suddha Mahindena matimata Sangitittayaiii arulhaiii Sammasariibuddhadesitaih Sariputtadigitaii ca kathamaggaih samekkhiya kata Sihalabhasaya Sihalesu pavattati. Taiii tattha gantva sutva tvaiii Magadhanarii niruttiya parivattehi, sa hoti sabbalokahitavaha.' Evarii vutto pasanno so nikkhamitva tato imaiii dipaiii aga imass'eva ranno kale mahamati. Mahaviharam sampatto viharaiii sabbasadbunaiii Mahapadhanagharam gantva Saiiighapalassa santika Sihalatthakatham sutva theravadaii ca ' sabbaso Dhaihmassamissa eso va adhjppayo ' ti nicchiya ^ Tattha sariighariusamanetva ' katuiii atthakathaiu mama potthake detha sabbe' ti aha. Vimamsiturii sa tarn Saiiigho gathadvayam tassa dasi : ' samatthiyam tava. ettha dassehi, taii: disva sabbe demati potthake.' Pitakattayaih etth'eva saddhiih Atthakathaya so Visuddhimaggam namaka sariigahetva samasato. Tato saiiigham samuhetva Sariibuddhamatakovidaiii Mahabodhisamipamhi so taiii vacetum arabhi. Devata tassa nepuiinarii pakasetuih mahajane chadesuiii potthakarii, so pi dvattikkhattum pi taiii aka. Vacetmii tatiyevare potthake samudahate potthakadvayam aniiarii pi santhapesurii tahirii marii. Vacayiiiisu tada bhikkhii potthakattayaih ekato, ganthato atthato vapi pubbaparavasena va Theravadehi paHhi padehi vyaiijanehi ca


had achieved the knowledge of the three Vedas," and pos- sessed great aptitude in attaining acquirements, indefatigable as a schismatic disputant, and himself a schismatic wanderer over Jambudipa, established himself in the character of a dis- putant, in a certain vihara, and was in the habit of rehears- ing, by night and by day with clasped hands, a discourse which he had learnt, perfect in all its component parts, and sus- tained throughout in the same lofty strain.

A ceitain maha-thera, Revata, becoming acquainted with him there and (saying to himself), 'This individual is a person of profound knowledge; it will be worthy (of me) to convert him' ; en- quired, ' who is this who is braying like an ass ? ' (The Brahmana) replied to him, ' Thou canst define, then, the meaning conveyed in the bray of asses. '

On (the thera) rejoining, ' I can define it ' ; he (the Brahmana) exhibited the extent of the knowledge he possessed. (The thera) criticised each of his propositions and pointed out in w^hat respect they were fallacious. He who had been thus refuted, said' 'well, then, descend to thy own creed ' ; and he propounded to him a passage from the "Abhidhamma" (of the Pitakattaya) .

annathattarii aliu n'eva potthakesu pi tisu pi. Atha ugghosayi saiiigho tutthahattho visesato : ' Nissariisayam sa Metteyyo ' iti vatva punappuuarii Saddhim Atthakathayada potthake Pitakattaye, Ganthakare vasanto so vihare durasaiiikare Parivattesi sabba pi SIhalatthakatha tada sabbesaiii mulabhasaya Magadhaya niriittiya. Sattanaih sabbabhasanaiii sa ahosi hitavaha, theriyacariya sabbe Paliiii viya taiii aggahuiii. Atha kattabbakiccesu gatesu parinitthitiiii Vanditmii so Mahabodhiiii Jambudipaiii upagarai."


He (the Brahmana) could not divine the signification of that (passage) ; and enquired, 'whose manto is this ?' 'It is the Buddha's manto.' On his exclaiming, 'Impart it to me'; (the thera) replied, ' Enter the sacerdotal order.' He who was desirous of acquiring the knowledge of the Pitakattaya^ subsequently coming to this conviction : '

This is the sole road (to salvation)' ; became a convert to that faith. As he was as profound in his (ghoso) eloquence as the Buddha himself, they conferred on him the appellation of Buddha- ghoso (the voice of the Buddha) ; and throughout the world he became as renowned as the Buddha.

Having there (in Jambudipa) composed an original work called ' Nanodayam ' ; he, at the same time, wrote the chapter called ' Atthasalini ' on the Dhammasaiigani (one of the commentaries on the Abhidhammo). Revata thera then observing that he was desirous of undertaking the compilation of a "Paritta- atthak^atham " (a general commentary on the Pitakattaya), thus address'ed him : '

The text alone (of the Pitakattaya) has been preserved in this land : the ^Atthakatha are not extant here ; nor is there any version to be found of the vada (schisms) complete. The Sinhalese Atthakatha are genuine.

They were composed in the Sinhalese language b}^ the inspired and profoundly wise Mahindo, who had pre- viously consulted the discourses of the Buddha, authenticated at the three convocations, and the dissertations and argu- ments of Sariputto and others, and they are extant among the Sinhalese. Repairing thither, and studying the same, translate (them) according to the rules of the grammar of the Magadhas. It will be an act conducive to the welfare of


the whole world.' Having been thus advised, this eminently wise personage rejoicing therein, departed from thence, and visited this island in the reign of this monarch (Mahanama). On reaching the Mahavihara (at Anuradhapura) he entered the Mahapadhana Hall, the most splendid of the apartments in the vihara, and listened to the Sinhalese Atthakatha, and the Theravada, from the beginning to the end, propounded by the thera Sanghapali ;

and became thoroughly convinced that they conveyed the true meaning of the doctrines of the Lord of Dhammo. Thereupon paying reverential respect to the priesthood, he thus petitioned : ' I am desirous of translating the Atthakatha ; give me access to all your books.' The priesthood for the purpose of testing his quali- fications gave onh^ two gathas saying : ' Hence prove thy qualification ; having satisfied ourselves on this point, we will then let thee have all our books.'

From these (taking these gathas for his text), and consulting the Pitakattaya, together with the Atthakatha and condensing* them into an abridged formAne composed the commentar}^ called the ' Visuddhimaggam.' Thereupon having assembled the priesthood who had acquired a thorough knowledge of the doctrines of the Buddha, at the Bo-tree, he commenced to read out (the work he had composed).

The devatas in order that they might- make his (Buddhaghosa's) gifts of wisdom celebrated among men, rendered that book invisible. He, however, for a second and third time, recomposed it. When he was in the act of producing his book for the third time, for the purpose of propounding it, the devatas restored the other two copies also. The (assembled) priests then read out


the three books simultaneously. In those three versions, neither in a signification, nor in a single misplacement by transposition ; nay even in the thera controversies, and in the text (of the Pitakattaya), was there in the measure of a verse, or in the letter of a word, the slightest variation. Thereupon the priesthood rejoicing, again and again ferventl^^ shouted forth, sa^dng, 'Most assured^ this is Metteyyo (Buddho) himself; and made over to him the books in which the Pitakattaya were recorded, together with the Atthakatha.

Taking up his residence in the secluded Ganthakaro viharo at Anuradhapura, he translated, according to the grammatical rules of the Magadhas, which is the root of all languages, the whole of the Sinhalese Atthakatha (into Pali). This proved an achievement of the utmost consequence to all languages spoken by the human race. All the Theras and Acariyas held this compilation in the sam.e estimation as the text (of the Pitakattaya). Thereafter, the objects of his mission having been fulfilled, he returned to Jambudipa to worship at the, Bo-tree (at Uruvelaya in Magadha)."

The thirty-three couplets quoted in 'the foot-note are, as we have said before, from the supple- count of Dhammakitti. mentary chapter of the Mahavamsa written by Dhammakitti in the 13th century A.C. It was written several centuries after Buddha- ghosa lived and compiled his works, but Dhammakitti must have had some authentic records before him from w^hich he drew his information.

He might have got the account, as the late Prof. Rhys Davids says,' from the tradition as preserved at the Great Minster in Anuradhapura in written docu- ments now no longer extant." The whole account here given in the Mahavamsa has the impress of truth on it with the exception, of course, of the portion speaking of the share the Devas took in augmenting the glory of Buddhaghosa.

-The most important service that Dhammakitti renders to our knowledge of the great sage, is date of Buddhaghosa as that he fixes dcfinitelv the time when given by Dhammakitti Buddhaghosa lived. The king Mahanama reigned in the first half of the fifth century A.C., as the Ceylonese chronicle show^s ; and as Buddhaghosa visited Cey- lon and worked there during this period, we can be certain about the age he lived in. In the great darkness that hangs over the history of Indian literature, whether Sanskrit or Pali and in view of the uncertainty which perplexes us whenever we make an attempt to fix the date of any great Indian author with anything like definiteness, the value of this simple fact that w^ know of Buddhaghosa' s time is inesti- mable.

The date given by Dhammakitti is also substantiated by internal evidence derived from the commentaries of Buddhaghosa himself. Buddhaghosa shows his acquaintance with the Milinda Panho. This is clear from two passages pointed out by Rhys Davids, one from Buddhaghosa' s commentary on the Mahaparinibbana Sutta (vi. 3) and the other from his comment on the Ambattha Sutta (Digha Nikaya, III. 2, 12) where the great exegete refers to and quotes from the conversation between Milinda and Nagasena. Dr. Morris has pointed out two other passages making similar quotations fTom the Milinda Patiho, one of them from the Manorathapurani, Buddhaghosa's commentary on the Angut- tara Nikaya, and the second from, his commentary on the Majjhima Nikaya, the Papaiicasudani/ These passages as given in Buddhaghosa's works, do not agree very closely, word for word, with the text of the Milinda Pan ho as edited by Mr. Trenckner, but the substance is the same, sp that there cannot be any reasonable doubt that Buddhaghosa did actually know the Milinda Pahho. In view of the respect with which he speaks about it, there can be no question, as Rhys Davids points out, that the Questions of King Milinda must have been written some considerable time before Buddhaghosa." ' Mrs. C. A. F. Rhys Davids draws our atten- tion to several passages in the Atthasalini, that is, Buddha- ghosa's commentary on the Dhammasahgani,'^ where he refers to Ayasma Nagasena, Nagasenatthera, Ayasma Nagasenat- thera, Thera Nagasena, or simply the Thera.

In her edition of the Visud'dhimagga of Buddhaghosa,, the learned author has discovered at least three passages wjtiich can be traced to the Mihnda Panho.* References to other post-canonical Buddhist works, such as the Petakopadesa, Anagatavaihsa be sides some of the ancient atthakathas and other works which are no longer extant, have been pointed out by the same gifted lady in the works of Buddhaghosa already referred to.


But it is to be observed that in none of these cases, there is the least reason for thinking that any of the works quoted from or referred to by Buddhaghosa, was of a later date than what is alloted to him by Dhammakitti. There can, there- fore, be no hesitation in accepting the first half of the fifth cen- tury A.C. as the time when Buddhaghosa lived and wrote his works.

The Burmese tradition as recorded by Bishop Bigandet alsopoints to the beginning of the fifth century A.C. as the time when the great commentator visited the shores of the Marta- ban. Thus writes the Bishop in his 'I^ife or Legend of Gau- dama " : '^It is perhaps as well to mention here an epoch which has been at all times famous in the history of Buddhism in Burma. I allude to the voyage which a Religious^ of Thaton, named Buddhagosa, made to Ceylon, in the year of religion 943-400 A.C. The object of this voyage was to procure a copy of the scriptures. He succeeded in his under- taking. He made use of the Burmese or rathet Talaing cha- racters, in transcribing the manuscripts, which were written with the characters of Magatha. The Burma ns lay much stress upon that voyage, and always caref ulty note down the year it took place. In fact, it is to Buddhagosa that the people living on the shores of the Gulf of Martaban owe the possession of the Buddhist scriptures. From Thaton, the col- lection made by Budhagosa was transferred to Pagan, six hundred and fifty years after it had been imported from Ceylon."


It will be apparent from the previous discussion that the date of Buddhaghosa as given bv Buddhaghosa's proficiency in Brahmanic- Dhanimaklttl aCCOrds With all KUOWn al learning. tacts. Dhammakitti s account or Bud- dhaghosa' s proficiency in the Vedas and in other branches of Brahmanical learning is also substantially correct. It is confirmed by internal evidence from the great exegete's own commentaries. Buddhaghosa in his Sumahgalavilasini makes mention of the four vedas, viz. Irubbeda (Rigveda) Yajubbeda (Yajurveda) Samaveda and Athabbana Veda.'

He also shows his acquaintance with the details of Vedic sacrifices. He says that yittha is called the great sacrifice (mahaj^aga) and huta is hospitality offered to the persons attending the sacrifice. He speaks of aggihoma ' which, he adds, derives its name from the fact that it is performed by burning sacrificial things in fire produced by wood.

According to him, dabbihoma is a kind of aggihoma and is so called because this sacrifice is perff)rmed by putting husks into the fire by means of a wooden spoon. He says that kano is red powder which adheres to the grain of rice nnder the husk. Tandula includes sali-rice and other grass- es. Sappi is go-sappi, (cow-ghee), etc. Tela is sesamum oil, etc.

The sacrifices called mukha homa and lohita homa have also been referred to by our author in his Sumarigalavi- lasini. The former is spoken of as a kind of sacrifice in which the mustard seeds, etc., are thrown in the fire by tak- ing them in the mouth and the latter is a kind of sacrifice performed by the blood of the right knee, etc.


According to Buddhaghosa, saddha is a food prepared for the dead, thalipaka is a food prepared for a good ceremony such as marriage, etc. yaiiha is a food prepared for a sacrifice and pahuna is a food prepared for the guests, it also means food for presentation.' We are also told that those who perform the great sacrifice (mahayagaiii) by raising big sacrificial posts, writing on them the names of such and such a king or the names of such and such a brahmin, do not cut trees or dubba grasses, not to speak of the killing of the cows, goats and the like.'

Buddhaghosa does not keep us in the dark as to what he thought regarding the brahmanical practices. He says that the brahmins though versed in the three Vedas, have not seen Brahma.'^ They offer prayers for help to Inda, Soma, Varuna, Isana, Pajapati, Brahma, Mahiddhi and Yama. But the commentator does not find any good result following from such prayers.

It must not be thought that the Vedic texts were the onl}^ brahmanical works known to Buddhaghosa. He gives us a derivation of the word, 'Itihasa,"' which agrees almost exactly with the explanation given by Yaska in his Nirukta. He shows his knowledge of the place where the Brahmanas used to stay from time to time to repeat their mantras. ' In his Visuddhimagga' dealing with the virtue of Titikkha, i.e. forbearance, he saj'-s, "A person endowed with the quaht}^ of forbearance is one whom I call Brahmana." In his Parables, he refers to brahmanical rites. "

He refers the expression. Bandhupadapacca, to the brahman theor}^ that Sudras were born from Brahma's heels." That he was acquainted with the history of the Brahmin religious sects is apparent from the account he gives of the eight different sorts of Brahman ascetics discussed in the Journal of the Pali Text Societ3^ 1891, and fromi the commentary of the Samyutta Nikaya where we find that he went so far as to investigate the his- tory of Dhanahjani brahmins who according to him, 'V/ere one of the most aristocratic families claiming to have sprung not from the mouth but from the splitting open of the head of Brahma."

His comments upon the Pali passage* relating to the supplementary treatise of the Vedas cannot be ex- pected from one who was not conversant with the whole of the Vedic literature. His emphasis on Vinaya is another proof of the influence of his previous learning. His definitions of killing, theft, etc., indicate an enormous improvement on older expositions. He had knowledge of some of the systems of Hindu philosophy. His knowledge of Sarikhya philosoph}^ is shown by his attitude towards pakativada as it will be seen in a subsequent chapter. He enriched his Buddhist heritage with fresh materials from other systems ; consider, for exam- ple, his use of the term ' Samuha ' which reminds us at once of Now we shall proceed to show that the account given bv Dhammakitti of the life of Buddha- Agreement of Dham-makitti's account of guosa agrees generally with what the the life of Buddha-ghosa with the evi- great cxcgetist has said about himself dence of the c Commentaries, specially in the Nidanakatha or story of the origin of the works at their respective beginnings. Thus in the Nidanadikatha to his Visuddhimagga, Buddhaghosa at the very beginning quotes the following gatha of Buddha's own saying Sile patitthaya naro sapafino, cittam pafifiam ca bhavayam, Atapi nipako Bhikkhu, so imam vijataye jatanti."

(After having been established in precepts, a wise person should think of samadhi and panha, an active and wise Bhikkhu disentangles this lock.) Next he proceeds to record the circumstances under which he wrote this great compendium of Buddhism : ' The real meaning of sila, etc., is describ- ed by means of this stanza uttered by the great sage. Having acquired ordination in the Order of the Tina (con- queror) and the benefit of the sila, etc., which is tranquil and which is the straight path to purit}', the Yogis who are desirous of obtaining purit}^, not knowing purit}^ as it is, do not get purity though they exert. I shall speak of the Visuddhimagga according to the instruction of the dwellers of the Mahavihara, which is pleasing to them and which is the correct interpretation : Let all the holymen who are desi- rous of obtaining purity listen to what I say, attentively.

At the end of the work again, Buddhaghosa returns to that very gatha which he has adopted as his text for writing the Visuddhimagga, and after referring to his promise quoted above, thus delivers himself : 'The interpretation of the meanings of the sila, etc., has been told in the Atthakathas on the five Nikayas. All of them being taken into consideration, the interpretation gradual!}^ becomes manifest, being free from all faults due to confusion ; and it is for this reason that the Visuddhimagga should be liked by the Yogis who are desirous of obtaining purity and who have pure wisdom.' Taking the consent of the revered Sanghapala who is wise, who is pure and devoted to silas, who observes the rules of Vinaya and who is devoted to the Order and whose mind is full of the qualities of forbearance, delight and love, etc., and who belongs to the family of the dwellers of the Mahavihara who are the famous theras and who are the foremost amongst the Vibhajjavadins, this has been composed b}^ me for the long existence of the True Law. On account of the power of the merit acquired by me with- out any hindrance, let all creatures obtain happiness. The Visuddhimagga has been finished in 58 chapters without any obstacle. I^et all the good desires of the world be fulfilled quickly, without any hindrance.'

Here we observe that according to Buddhaghosa, the whole of this great work of his was written as a commentary on that one gatha uttered by the Master^\ Evidently it was this gatha which Dhammakitti had in his mind when he wrote that the Visuddhimagga was written as a comment on and expansion of the two gathas which were set by the Sinhalese Sarigha residing at the Mahavihara to test Buddha- ghosa's learning and efhciency.

Dhammakitti also records that the wonder-struck theras of the Mahavihara likened the author of the Visuddhi-Magga to Maitreya and it will be observed that Buddhaghosa also reminds himself of the same Bodhisatta when he finally lays down his pen as shown by the two final verses' the trans- lation of which is as follows : — At the last birth as a human being, seeing Metteyya who is the great sage, who is the foremost of all men, who is the lord and who is devoted to the welfare of all beings and listening to the preaching of the true law of the wise, I may shine in the Order of the Jina, having obtained the best fruit.

In the Nidanakatha to his Atthasalini or commentary on the Dhammasafigani, Buddhaghosa also speaks of the circum- stances under which his commentary was compiled from the Sinhalese Atthakathas composed by Mahinda and pre- served in Ceylon and herein he also refers to the work done by him in his Visuddhimagga. Thus he goes on : *' I will set forth, rejoicing in what I reveal, the explanation of the meaning of that Abhidhamma as it was chanted forth by Maha Kassapa and the rest (at the first council), and re- chanted later (at the second council) by the Arahats, and by Mahinda brought to this wondrous isle and turned into the language of the dwellers therein. Rejecting now the ton- gue of the men of Tambaparmi and turning it into that pure tongue which harmonizes with the texts (I will set it forth) showing the opinion of the dwellers in the Great Minster, undefiled by and unmixed with the views of the sects and adducing also what ought to be adduced from the Nikayas and the commentaries."' Explaining the decision of the Bhikkhus of the Mahavihara, which is unmixed with the opinions of the followers of other Nika5^as, I shall explain the meaning, word for word, of all texts (tanti), taking what is to be taken from agamatthakathas and satisfying the learned ones but excluding all the kammatthanas, cariya (conduct) abhitiha (supernatural knowledge) vipassana (in- sight) as they have been explained in the Visuddhimagga.'


In the introductory verses to his Sumangalavilasini or commentar}^ on the Digha-Nikava also, Buddhaghosa makes similar references to the history of the composition of his commentaries. Thus he observes: "Through the influence of serene mind and merit which are due to the salutation of the Three Refuges and which put an end to obstacles, in or- der to explain the meaning of the Digha-Nikaya containing long suttas, which is a good agama, described by the Buddhas and minor Buddhas and which brings faith, the Atthaka- thas have been sung and afterwards resung from the begin- ning b}^ 500 theras, and are brought to the island of Lanka b}^ the wise Mahinda and put in the language of the island of Lafika for the welfare of its inhabitants. Discarding the Sinhalese language and rendering them into a good language which is like Tanti and which is free from faults and not lejecting the explanations of the theras who are the dwellers of the Mahavihara, who are the lamps of the group of theras and who are good interpreters, I shall e:5^plain the meaning, avoiding repetitions, for the delight of the goodmen and for the long existence of the dhamma."

gahetabbam gahetvana tosayanto vicikkhane. Kammatthanani sabbani cariyabhinua vipassana Visuddhimagge pan' idarii yasma sabbam pakasitarii Tasma tarii agahetvana sakalaya pi tantiya padanukkamato eva karissam' atthavannanaiii." 1 Sumaugalavilasini, pt. I., p. I. " Iti me pasannamatino ratauattayavandanamayaiii punfiaiii Yaiii suvihatantarayo hutva tassanubhavena Dighassa dighasuttaiiikitassa nipunassa agamavarassa Buddhaiiubuddhasaiiivannitassa saddhavahagunassa Atthappakasanatthaih atthakatha adito vasisatehi


I Here also he refers to his Visuddhimagga' : "I shall not again discuss what has been well told in the Visuddhimagga. Standing in the midst of four agamas, the Visuddhimagga will explain the meaning which has been told there ^ this be- ing done, you will understand the meaning of the Digha Nikaya taking it along with this Atthakatha (i. e. Sumahgala- vilasini)." In the Sumahgalavilasini, he also refers to his Samant- apasadika, Vinayatthakatha (Sumahgalavilasini, I, p. 70). In this last work, Buddhaghosa mentions by name some of the Sinhalese commentaries,- such as the Maha- Atthakatha or the great commentary or the commentary of the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura, the Mahapaccari or the Great Raft Com- mentary which, Buddhaghosa says in his Papaiicasudani, was so named from the fact of its having been composed on a raft in Ceylon and the Kurunda Atthakatha, that is, the comment- ary written at Kurundaveki Vihara, in Ceylon. These com- mentaries besides other post-canonical books have been quoted from or referred to by Buddhaghosa in his works ; those mentioned in the Atthasalini have been pointed out by Mrs. Rhys Davids.'

In the epilogue to his commentary on the Vinaya Pitaka, Buddhaghosa tells us that he completed his great work in the twenty-first year of the reign of king Sirinivasa of Cey- lon, who was his benevolent royal patron'. Perhaps he refers to the same king under the name of Sirikuta in the epilogue to his commentary on the Dhammapada.'^ It is left to further research to settle whether or not Sirinivasa was another name of King Mahanama, during whose reign our Commentator visited Ceylon according to the Mahavamsa. The Rev. Bhikkhu H. P. Buddhadatta is of this opinion. He points out that nowhere else is mentioned a King of Ceylon by the name of Sirikuta or SiriniVasa.

Buddhaghosa refers to King Dutthagamani Abhaya/ the national hero of Ceylon, and to King Coranaga,^ son of king Vattagamani. He also makes mention of a king named Ma- hanaga whose magnificent gifts in connection with the art of healing at Penambarigana won for him a lasting fame.'* King Mahanaga is perhaps no other than King Buddhadasa, father of King Mahanama mentioned in the Mahavamsa. (Chap. XXX. 171.) Buddhaghosa refers to Cetiyapabbata of Ceylon where a king went out by the eastern gate to reach the pabbata and reached the banks of the Colombo river, the horse standing on the bank was not wilhng to get down into the river like the horse Gulavanna of King Kutakanno.'

As we have seen from the quotations made from the in- troductory verses of his commentaries, Buddhaghosa says that Mahinda brought the Atthakatha (rehearsed by five hundred Bhikkhus at the first council) to Ceylon,' and in the Sumafigalavilasini, he speaks of Mahinda as the person who not only brought the Atthakatha into Ce^don but also ren- dered it into Sinhalese for the good of the inhabitants of the island.^ This confirms the tradition of the Mahavamsa which attributed the authorship of the whole of the Sinhalese Atthakatha to Mahinda.

Buddhaghosa in his Saratthapakasini refers to Thera Mahamahinda whc?, when he came to the island, sat at Joti- vana and preached the doctrine and, it is added, the earth quaked.* He also refers to various Viharas of Ceylon which may be enumerated thus: —


I. Colombotittha Vihara^ where fifty Sinhalese monks used to take their abode in the rainy season. I Saratthapakasini (niss) p. 25. " Kutakannaranno Ctihivaiiuasso viya. Raja kira pacinadvarenanikkhamitva ' Cetiyapabbataiiigaiiiissamiti ' kalambanaditiraiii sampa- ttoasso tire thatva udaka 111 otaritum na icchati " i Saratthapakasini, (inss)p. i. s Sumaiigalavilasini , p. i. * P- 29- 6 Saratthapakasini (mss) p. 132.

2. Girikandaka Vihara in the village of Vattakalaka in Ceylon, where a householder's daughter on account of her strong faith in the Buddha got Ubbegapiti and soared into the sky.' 3. Mahavihara^ where there were resident Bhikkhus whose teaching was in the language of the text (tanti). 4. Mahavihara' where the excellent Atthakatha or commentary was written. A reference is also made to Tipitaka Culabhaya of Ma- havihara who mastered the Atthakatha.^ A thera of Cejdon named Cittagutta who was an inhabitant of Kurandaka Ma- halena, is referred to in the Visuddhimagga.^ Korandaka was a vihara in Ceylon where a thera used to live as mentioned in the Visuddhimagga.*^ A reference is made to a thera named Mahaddhammarakkhita who used to live in a vihara of Ceylon named TuladharapabbataJ We have tried to put together here what we know of the history of Buddhaghosa. This, as we have said, is too meagre to satisfy our cravings for information about the life of the great commentator, whose industry has rendered the Pali Buddhist literature and philosophy intelligible to us.


Legends About Buddhaghosa

We have seen in the last chapter that the account of Buddhaghosa as given in the supplement Buddhaghosa. iMahavamsa is m the mam worthy of credence. In course of time, how- ever, a mass of legends grew about the few simple facts noted by Dhammakitti. Such legends are found in the Buddha- ghosuppatti, also known as the Mahabuddhaghosassa Nidana- vatthu, by the priest Mahamahgala about whose hfe and date we know hardly anything. He was most probably a Ceylon- ese by birth as pointed out b}' Gray,' and evidently lived after the time when the Mahavariisa account was written. Besides the Buddhaghosuppatti, other late works of the southern Buddhist' school, such as the Gandhavamsa,- the Sasanavariisa,' and the Saddhamma Sangaha,^ furnish some additional details. But the accounts of all these works are of the nature of legends in which fact and fiction are often hope- lessly blended together. The authors have given free scope to their imagination and introduced poetical and rhetorical em- bellishments, rendering it difficult to dissociate the grains of authentic biography from the chaff of fable and fiction that lias accumulated round the name of the great scholar. J.

' Buddhaghosuppatti, p. 33.

Gray has brought together the accounts of the Ufe of Buddha- ghosa from these and other sources, Talaing, Sinhalese, and Burmese. We give below a summary of the story of Buddha- ghosa derived mainly from the materials collected by Cray, providing additional information from works like the Gandha- vamsa and the Saddhammasangaha.

After the death of Thera Mahinda there appeared, in course of time, a thera named Buddhaghosa.' There was a village named Ghosa not far from the great Bo-tree ; this village was called Gosagama, as it v/as inhabited by a large number of cowherds. A certain king ruled at that time and he had a brahmin chaplain (purohita) named Kesi who was the foremost among the preceptors of his time. Kesi had a wife named KesinL' At that time it was found very difficult to understand the teachings of the lyord as they were written in Sinhalese. A certain thera who possessed supernatural powers and was free from sins, thought 15hus: "Who is that great thera who will be able to render the teachings of the lyord into the Magadhi language from the language of Ceylon?"

Thinking thus he saw clairvoyantly that there lived a celestial being in the Tavatimsa heaven, who would be competent to perform the task. Thereupon the thera appeared before Sakka who asked him as to the cause of his coming. He informed Sakka about his mission. Sakka asked him to wait a little. The chief of the Tavatiriisa devas then approached a deva named Ghosa and enquired, "Do you wish to go to the human world ?" The deva replied, " I desire to go to a still higher celestial world and not to the human world where there is much suffering : but if the teaching of the Lord is difhcult for the human beings to understand, I am ready to go there." Thus he consented and his consent was made known to the thera who was a friend of the brahmin KesL The thera next went and told Kesi, "During seven days from this day, don't plunge into worldly enjoyments ; a son will be born to you who will be very wise and virtuous." Saying this the thera left him. Exactly on the seventh day, the deva Ghosa, after death, was reborn in the womb of Kesini. After ten months he was born, and to him as a babe, slaves, hired servants, and brahmins uttered sweet words, 'eat, drink.' The boy is said to have been named Ghosa on account of these utter- ances. ' When Ghosa was seven years old, His education.

be learnt the Vedas and within seven years, he acquired mastery over the three Vedas.' One day he was eating peas sitting on the shoulder of Visnu. Seeing him tiius seated, the other brahmins grew angry and said, Why are you eating peas sitting on the shoulder of our teacher Visnu ; you do not know your own measure, how will you know the three Vedas?" Ghosa replied, "The Masa (pea) itself is Visnu ; what is it that is called Visnu ? — of these two, how can I know which is Visnu?" The brahmins could not give any reply, they merely looked at one another. They were struck dumb, and informed Kesi all about it. Kesi asked his son, Have you behaved like this?" Ghosa replied in the affirmative. Thereupon Kesi consoled the brahmins thus, " Don't be angry, he is 3^oung." The brahmins went away thus consoled.' Kesi used to instruct the king in the Vedas. One day he went to the king^ accompanied by his son. While in- structing his royal pupil, he came on a passage in which some knotty points were involved. He ccKild not make out their meaning, and with the king's permission, returned home. Ghosa being aware of it, secretly wrote the mean- ing of those difficult points in the book for the benefit of his father. The brahmin Kesi became highly satisfied when he saw the purport and meaning of the points which had puzzled him, written down in the book, and enquired who had actually done it. He was informed by the members of his family that his son was the writer. Thereupon the brahmin asked his son, "Dear, is this writing yours ?" The boy rephed in the affirmative. Kesi lost no time in infornj- ing the king of it. The latter greatly delighted, embraced the young Ghosa, kissed his forehead, sajnng, "You are my son, I am your father," and rewarded him with an excellent village.'

Ghosa learnt the Vedas and he got by heart six thousand padas daily. One da}^ a great thera who His conversion was a friend of Kesi, went to the latter' s house to take his food. Ghosa' s seat was allotted to him and the thera being indifferent as to whose seat it was, sat on it. Ghosa became angry, seeing the great thera. seated on his seat, and he abused the latter thus, "This shaven-headed Samana is shameless; he does not know his measure. Why has my father invited him ? He does not know the Vedas or another cult." He resolved to ask him questions regarding the Veda as soon as he finished his meal. Accordingly he asked the thera, "Do you know the Veda or an^^ other cult?" Mahathera being greatly pleased said, "Oh, Ghosa, I know 3'our Vedas or any other cult." Ghosa said, "If you know the Vedas, please recite." Then the Mahathera recited the three Vedas, fully bringing out the significance of the knotty points.

Ghosa was charmed by his recitation and said thus, " I want to know your cult, please recite." The Mahathera then recited the contents of the Abhidhamraa with special reference to kusala dhamma, akusala dhamma and abya- kata dhamma. He also explained some difficult problems of Buddhist philosophy which were afterwards incorporated in the AtthasaHni, a commentary on the Dhammasahgani. Al- together twenty-one kinds of kusala dhamma, twelve kinds •of akusala dhamma, thirty-six kinds of vipaka (consequence) and twenty kinds of kiriyacitta were mentioned by the Mahathera. While listening to the exposition of saddhamma (true law), Ghosa was utterty charmed and said, What is your cult? Can a householder learn it?"

He was told that it could be learnt by a monk. Ghosa said, "The cult of the Buddha is mvaluable, it pleases me; when one has learnt it, he becomes free from all suffering." He then inform.ed his parents that he intended to renounce the world. He said, "I shall take ordination from^ the Mahathera, learn the cult of the Buddha and then I shall come back home be- ing disrobed." His parents consented after some hesitation and took him to the Mahathera and spoke to him thus, "This is your grandson, who is desirous of receiving ordina- tion from you, give him ordination." Ghosa was ordained and was given Tacakammatthana.' On asking the meaning of Tacakammatthana, he received the following reply, "Meditate upon kesa, loma, nakha, danta, and taco." All Buddhas realised the fruition of saintship depending on Tacakammatthana.' Ghosa listened to it, meditated there- on and became established in the Three Refuges. He prac- tised the ten precepts, having acquired a firm faith in the teaching of the Lord. He told the thera, "Sir, the teaching of the Lord puts an end to suffering ; my Vedas are worthies and they are rightly given up by the Buddha and other saints."' Thus he obtained ordination from the hands of the Mahathera. The name of the Buddhist Elder is not men- tioned in the second chapter of the Buddhaghosuppatti where the details of Ghosa's conversion have been noted.

According to the Saddhamma Sangaha,' it was one Kevata who gave him ordination after he had embraced Buddhism. It is stated there that a young brahmin wandered through villages, countries, towns, and capital cities of Jambudvipa and defeated everybody, by answering questions put to him- At last he came to a monastery ; there many hundreds of the Order dwelt; of these the Thera Revata was the foremost, who was free from sin, who had acquired analytical know- ledge and who used to defeat other disputants. The young brahmin was one day chanting the mantras and the thera listened to the recitation and said, " Who is this braying like an ass?'- The youth repHed, " Oh, monk ! how will you know the meaning involved in the braying of an ass?" The thera said, "Yes, I know." He was thereupon asked questions regarding all knotty points involved in the three Vedas, the Itihasas, etc. The thera answered them correct- ly. At last the thera said to his young interlocutor, " Oh, Brahmin, you have asked me many questions, I ask you only one, please answer it." The young man replied, " Ask me an}^ question, I am ready to answer." The thera put a question to him from the Cittayamaka in the book of the Yamaka. The brahmin was unable to answer it, and asked for ordination from him for the sake of the mantra. The thera ordained him and accepted him as a novice. A similar account is recorded in the Mahavamsa as we have seen in the previous chapter.

Here is another interesting incident of his life. One day Ghosa who was in a solitarv place, 'SmpraTed.' thought, "Is my knowledge greater or that of my preceptor, so far as the teaching of the I^ord is concerned." ' The preceptor, by thought-reading, knew of the question that had arisen in the mind of Ohosa and he said to him thus, " If you think thus, it is unworthy of 3ou." Ohosa begged his pardon and repented saying, "It is my sin, pardon me." The preceptor replied, "I will pardon you if you go to Ceylon and render the teaching of the Lord into the Magadhi language from the language of Ceylon." ' Ghosa said, "If you desire it, I also desire to go to the island of Ceylon, yet let me stay here till I remove the false belief of my father." When Ghosa returned to his father Kesi, the latter thought thus, "My son will now be a The story about the conversion of Buddha- householder." Breaking his silence, he asked Ghosa whether he would be a householder now. Ghosa did not repty.' He was maturing plans for persuading his father to give up his false belief and become a follower of the Buddha.

It is interesting to mention here how Ghosa is repres- ented as succeeding in this task. He went to his own dwelling-place and caused two inner rooms to be built, mak- ing a roof of brick and plastering it with mud and covering it with planks. In one of the two rooms, he fitted up two bolts both inside and outside ; there he kept fire, pot, rice, water, milk, curd, ghee, etc. And shutting the door of the room by a mechanism, he caused his father to enter the room. Kesi smid, "Dear, I am your father, why are you behaving like this ?" Ghosa replied, " It is true that you are my father, but as 3^ou are a heretic and have no faith in the teaching of the Lord, I have inflicted such punishment upon you." The father replied, "I do not cherish false belief, open the door." Ghosa said, " If you do not, then speak of the virtues of the Lord in the words, " Iti pi so Bhagava, etc." (the orthodox formula of the faithful) He filled his father's mind with pious fear, saying, " If you do not give up false belief, you will fall into hell after death."


Kesi spent three days there and on the fourth day, he re- collected the virtues of the Lord told by his son and uttered the words, " Iti pi so Bhagava, etc.," and acquired a spotless faith in the Three Refuges. He admitted that the Buddha was his Sattha (teacher). He was established in the fruition of the First Path. Ghosa now opened the door of the room, bathed his father with scented water and asked his pardon. Kesi praised the Lord in verses. Ghosa became greatly delighted in listening to the words of his father. Thus Kesi gave up the false belief which he cherished so long, through the exertions of his son.

After having established his father in the fruition of the first stage of sanctification, Ghosa begged his pardon and returned to his preceptor. No sooner did he get permission from his precep- tor to go to Ceylon than he directed his steps towards the shore together with some merchants and boarded a ship which sailed at once. On his way to 'Ceylon,"^ he met a thera named Buddhadatta who was then coming back to Jambudvipa from Lanka.'^ Buddhaghosa safely reached Lafikadvipa. There he went to the Samgharaja Mahathera, saluted him and sat on one side just behind the monks who were learning Abhidhamma and Vinaya."^ One day the Buddhaghosuppatti edited by J. Gray, pp. 47-48. Cf. Sasanavatiisa edited by M. Bode, p. 29. " Buddhaghoso ca pitaraiii micchaditthibhavato mocetva. ..."

On his way to Ceylon, before he met Buddhadatta, he reached Nagapattana. Saddhamma-Saiiigaho, J.P.T.S., 1890, p. 53. " . . . . Nagapattanaiii sampapuni." Buddhaghosuppatti, p. 49. It is recorded in the Sasanavaihsa (Edited by Mabel Bode, p. 31) that Buddha ghosa went to Ceylon and he entered the Mahavihara at Anuradhapura. There chief of the congregation, while instructing the monks, came upon a knotty point, the meaning and purport of which he could not make clear. He was struck dumb and went to his inner chamber and sat there thinking upon it. Ghosa knew all about it and wrote out on a black board the purport and meaning of the knotty point and when the chief of the cong- regation came out of his inner chamber, he looked at the writing. The Samgharaja enquired," Who has written this ? " He was told by the hermits thus, " It must have been written by the stranger monk." The chief enquired, " Where has he gone?" The hermits sought him out and showed him to the chief. The chief enquired whether it was written by him and getting a reply in the affirmative, said, "The congregation of monks should be taught b3^ you in the three Pitakas." Ghosa refused, saying, " I have come here to translate the teachings of the Lord from Sinhalese into Ma- gadhi." On hearing this, the chief became pleased and said, " If you have come »here to perform such a task, you make clear to us the significance of the following stanza uttered by the Buddha in reference to the three Pitakas : —

Who is that person who being wise and establi.slied in the precepts, and having cultured his Buddhaghosa's learn- thoughts and wisdoui, being ardent and mg tested. jo skilful, can unravel this knot ? " Ghosa consented, saying, All right," and returned to his abode. On the very day in the afternoon, he wrote out the Visud- dhimagga very easily, beginning with sile patitthaya, etc. After writing the Visuddhimagga, he fell asleep. Sakka, the chief of the gods, stole it. On awaking, he could not find out his own composition and wrote out the Visuddhimagga again, as quickly as possible, by lamplight. After completing it, he kept it on his head and again fell asleep. Sakka stole it for the second time. The thera awaking could not find it, he again wrote it as quickly as possible. After completing it, he fell asleep by tying it to the garment he wore. Sakka then left the two books already stolen by him, on his head.' In the morning Ghosa was delighted to see his books on his head. After ablution, he showed the three books to the chief of the congregation of the monks at Lanka." It is in- teresting to note that in these three books, there were more than one million nine hundred and twenty-three thousand letters, particles and prefixes. The chitf became astounded and asked him as to the reason of his writing out the same book three times. Ghosa told him the reason. Then the three books w^ere recited.'^ It is to be noticed that the par- ticles, prefixes and letters were the same and were put in the same places in all the three books/ The chief noticing this feature, became greatly pleased and gave the author permission to render the teaching of the Lord into Magadhi from Sinhalese. The chief spoke highly of the merits of Ghosa. Since then he became famous as Buddhaghosa among the inhabitants of Ce5don. ' He was called the chief of the human beings like the Buddha on earth.

While in Ce3don, Buddhaghosa used to live on the lower „ fiat of a seven-storied building. There Buddhaghosa engaged in translating he was engaged in translating the teachings of the lyord daily ; '^ in the morning when he used to go out for alms, he would see palm-leaves which had fallen and taking them he would depart from the place to which he had come to beg. This was his practice while he was at Ceylon. One da}^ a toddy-seller who was wise and experienced, saw his acts, scattered on the place of his beg- ging unbroken palm-leaves and then hid himself. The thera when he had finished begging, carried them to his house. The toddy-seller followed him, saw him actually engaged in writ- ing and was satisfie4. One day he took a potful of food and presented it to the thera. The thera said to him, "There lives a superior thera on the upper fiat, please give it to him." The toddy- seller went upstairs and when he met the thera on the upper fiat, the latter said, " Iuddhagliosa who dwells on the lower flat is worthier than we, daih^ he trans- lates the teachings of the Lord into Magadhi, give it to him." The toddy-seller, thereupon, returned to Buddhaghosa and offered the food to him. He accepted it and made six shares out of it and gave one share to each of the six theras.

Buddhaghosa 's task of translating was finished in three months. Having observed the Pavarana, he informed the chief of the congregation of the completion of his task. The Samgharaja praised him much and set fire to all the works written by Mahinda in Sinhalese ; Buddhaghosa now asked the permission of the congregation to go home and see his parents. While he was going to embark, the Sinhalese monks spoke ill of him thus, "We are of opinion that this thera knows the Tripitakas, but he does not kno^A' Sanskrit." As soon as Buddhaghosa heard this, he at once addressed the chief of the congregation Buddhaghosa 's . . knowledge of Sanskrit of Sinhalese mouks thus, " Revered Sir, displayed. to-morrow, on the ^abbath-da}^, I shall give an address in Sanskrit ; let the four-fold assembly gather together in the yard of the great shrine." Early in the morn- ing, he in the midst of the congregation ascended the pul- pit to displa}^ his knowledge of Sanskrit and uttered some stanzas in Sanskrit, the purport of which is as follows' :—

"Subsisting as a porter, a cowherd, a water-drawer, or by serving the learned, is excellent. I beg you to let me hold up my hands in adoration; let not the three worlds by the seven offences disgustingl}- religion of the adorable one, the son of Suddhodana — a religion worthy to be reverenced by the head ; besmear your- selves with virtue that is like sandal-wood ; otherwise destroy- ing yourselves, death is preferable."^ Then he got down from his pulpit and saluted the cong- regation of monks. Since then the monks had no doubt as to his knowledge of Sanskrit. The following event which is said to have happened while Buddhaghosa was in Ceylon, is worth}' of

The quick wisdom ,of Buddhaghosa. uotice. One day two maid-servants two brahmins fell out with each other. When one of them was walking up the bank of a pond taking a jar of water, the other was coming down in a hurry with one empty jar which collided with that of the former. The maid-servant whose jar was broken, was angry and abused the other who also abused her. Buddhaghosa hearing this, thought thus, "There is nobody here, these women abusing each other would surely speak to their masters about it and I might be cited as a witness." The master of the maid-serv- ant whose jar was broken, referred the matter to the tribunal; the king not being able to decide the case asked, "Who is your witness ? " One of the maids referred to Buddhaghosa who was introduced to the king as a stranger, who received the punishment of the Church. Appearing before the king, Buddhaghosa observed, "The abusive language used by the maid-servants of the brahmins has been heard by me. We, monks, take no notice of such things." Saying this, he hand- Buddhaghosuppatti, translation, ed over a book in which he had recorded the abusive language. His Majesty decided the case rehang on the writ- ten evidence of Buddhaghosa. The brahmins spoke ill of Buddhaghosa sa3^ing, "This discarded monk has come to trade, you should not see him." The king, however, praised the latter by saying that he (Buddhaghosa) was a man of quick wisdom and enquired as to where he lived. He said, " I have never seen before a Samana like him who is religious, of quick intellect and greatly meditative."'

On returning from Ceylon, our monk, first of all, went to his preceptor in the Jambudvipa and informed him that he had written the ghosa to India. Pariyatti. Paying his respect to his spiritual guide, he went home to his parents who gave him excellent food to take. Some are of opinion that after having completed his work in Cevlon, Buddhaghosa came to Burma Story of Buddhaghosa's visit to Burma to propagate the Buddhist faith.' The

Burmese ascribe the new era m their re- ligion to the time when the great exegete reached their country from Ce^don.^ He is said to have brought over from that island to Burma, a copy of Kaccayana's Pali Grammar which he translated into Burmese. He is credited with having written a commentary upon it. It is not, however, mentioned by the great Pali grammarian and lexicographer, I Buddhaghosuppatti, pp. 53-54.

3 Manual of Indian Buddhism by Kern, p. 125.


Moggallana (A.D. 1153-1186), nor by the Prakrit grammarians Hem Chandra and others and must apparently be placed amongst the supposititious works of Buddhaghosa.' A volume of Parables in Burmese language is also attributed to him.^ The Burmese Code of Manu, too, is said to have been introduced into Burma from Ceylon by the same Buddhist scholar.' But the code itself is silent on this point. Professor Hackmann says, " There is- ground for doubting the state- ment that this man brought Buddhism to Burma. The chron- icles of Ceylon to which we owe the information about Bud- dhaghosa, and which must have been well-informed on the subject, give no account of his journey to further India. In- deed one of the most important inscriptions in Burma, which was erected at the end of the fifth century A.D.., at the instance of a King of Pegu, who was among the most devoted adher- ents of Buddhism, and which throws a backward glance over the history of Buddhism in Burma, makes no mention what- soever of Buddhaghosa. The Burmese tradition which refers to him does so on account of his translations and writings having become fundamental in the country, probably also because his intellectual influence may have inaugurated a new epoch in Burmese Buddhism."

We are of opinion that although the chronicles of CcA'lon and the inscriptions of the fifth century A.D. erected at Burma, are silent on this point, yet his works, e.g. the Attha- salini, the Visuddhimagga, etc., were well-known to the Burmans and held in high esteem by them from a very early time. Even now Buddhaghosa is so much adored and wor- shipped b}^ the Burmans that he appears actually to have lived amongst them.

We are to record here the death of the great com- mentator as described in the Buddhaghtsa ghosuppatti.The exact time of his own death was known to him and he thought thus, Death is of three kinds, samuccheda, kha- nika and sammuti. Of these, samuccheda is the death of one without taint, khanika is the momentary cessation of thought production, sammuti is the ordinary death of all living beings and of these am I to die the common death ? " Even at the last moment of his life, he was in the habit of philosophis- ing. Bearing in mind the precepts to be observed, he expired and was reborn in the Tusita heaven. We do not know where he breathed his last.'^ His commentaries are silent on this point. After his death, a funeral bed of sandal wood was pre- „. ^ , pared by all gods and men, Samanas and His funeral. Brahmanas, on which to burn his dead body. After his dead body had been cremated. Brahmins and other persons took the relics, buried them in sacred spots near the Bcdhi tree and erected stupas over them.^ A word or two is necessary here about the historical value of the Buddhaghosuppatti or the history of the rise „. . , , and career of Buddhasrhosa. A critical Historical value of the Buddhaghosup- examination of the work does not assist us much in elucidating the history'- of Buddhaghosa. The author had little authentic knowledge of the great commentator. He only collected the legends which centred round the remarkable man by the time when his work was written. Those legends are mostly valueless from the strict historical point of view. Gray truly says in his introduction to the Buddhaghosuppatti that the work reads like an "Arthurian Romance." As we shall show presently, the accounts given b^^ the Buddhaghosuppatti about the birth, early life, conversion, etc., of Buddhaghosa, bear a striking similarit}^ with those of Milinda and Moggali- putta Tissa. In the interview which took place between Buddhaghosa and Buddhadatta, the latter is said to have told Buddhaghosa thus, "I went. before you to Ceylon to Compile Buddha's, word, I am old, have not long to live and shall not, therefore, be able to accomplish my purpose. You carry out the work satisfactorily. ' ' In the Vinayavinicchaya which is attributed to Buddhadatta, we find that during the meeting, Buddhadatta requested Buddhaghosa to send him the commentaries when finished, that he might summarise them. Accordingly Buddhaghosa sent him the comment- aries and Buddhadatta summarised the commentary on the Abhidhamma in the Abhidhammavatara and the conunent- ary on the Vinaya in the Vinayavinicchaya. The above statement in the Vinayavinicchaya which is more authorita- tive than the Buddhaghosuppatti, is in direct contradiction


to the statement in the latter work. In the sixth chapter of the Buddhaghosuppatti, it is stated that Buddhaghosa rendered the Buddhist scriptures into Magadhi and in the seventh chapter, it is stated that when after three months. he completed his task, the works of Mahendra (Mahinda) were piled up to a height seven times that of a middle-sized elephant in a holy spot near the great shrine and burnt. It is evident that the author in the sixth chapter has made a m-istake. Buddhaghosa translated the Sinhalese comment- aries into Magadhi and not the texts themselves. Had it been so, there would not have been any occasion for setting fire to the works of Mahendra. On the other hand, they would have been carefully preserved as the only reliable and authentic interpretation of the sacred texts. It has been dis- tinctl}^ stated in the Mahavamsa that the texts only existed in the Jambudvipa and Buddhaghosa was sent to Ceylon to translate the Sinhalese commentaries into Magadhi. If the tradition recorded in the Mahavarhs^ is to be believed, then only we can get an explanation for the destruction of Mahinda' s works. It is interesting to note that the incidents connected with the birth, early life, and conversion of RiTHHh'^'iH ^°"/f^ °* Buddhaghosa fully resemble those con- Budahaghosa legends.

nected with the birth, early life, and conversion of ^agasena as recorded in The Q^testions of King Milinda. Before his birth, Nagasena was a deva living in a happy world and consented to come Story of Nagasena.

down to earth only at the request or the Arahats to uphold the teachings of the Buddha. Buddhaghosa, according to the Buddhaghosuppatti, was also a deva living in the next world, and came down to earth at the request of Sakka to translate the Sinhalese scriptures into Pali. Both Buddhaghosa and Nagasena are said to have showed wonderful signs of intelligence in their boyhood. Both mastered the Vedas within a very short time. Both were converted at a very early age by theras who used to visit their houses. The incidents in the lives of both these celebrities after conversion, are similar. After ordination Nagasena thought one day that his teacher must be a fool, in as much as he instructed him first in the Abhidhamma to the exclusion of other teachings of the Buddha. His teacher who was an Arahat^ immediately came to know what was passing in the mind of Nagasena and rebuked him for enter- taining such thoughts. Nagasena apologised, but his teacher said, " I will not forgive you until you go and defeat King Milinda who troubles the monks by asking questions from the heretic's point, of view." According to the Buddhagho- suppatti, Buddhaghosa, too, one da}^ reflected, " Am I or my preceptor more advanced in the Buddha's words." His teacher knowing his mind, said, 'Buddhaghosa, your thoughts please me not ; if you reflect thus, you will see that they are not becoming of a priest ; beg m}^ pardon." There- upon Buddhaghosa apologised, but his teacher said, " I shall pardon you if you go to Ceylon and render the Buddha's scriptures into Pali." The story of the conversion of Buddhaof Mogaliputta Tissa as recorded in the Maliavamsa, chapter 5. There is one incident in this episode, which is of special interest. Once Tissa was out while a thera paid his daily visit to his father's house. The men in the house not finding any other seat, offered him the seat of Tissa. Tissa came back and saw the thera sitting on his own seat. He became angry and spoke to him in an unfriendly way. Thereupon the thera asked him, " Young man, dost thou know the m antra ? ' ' Tissa asked the thera the same question . The thera replied, "Yes, I know." Then Tissa asked the thera to explain some knotty points in the Vedas. The thera expounded them and, in the end, asked Tissa a question from the Cittayamaka. Tissa was bewildered and asked the thera, " What mantra is that?" On the thera saying that it was Buddha-mantra, Tissa said, "Impart it to me." The thera said, "I impart it only to one who wears our robe." According to the Buddhaghosuppatti, one day a brahmin in the house of Kesi, father of Buddhaghosa, offered Buddha- ghosa's seat to a thera who was Kesi's f fiend. This made Buddhaghosa angry and when the thera finished his meal, he asked him, " Bald-headed Sir, do you know the Vedas or are you acquainted with anj^ other mantra?" The thera replied, " I know not only the Vedas but also another mantra," and then he rehearsed the three Vedas. Buddhaghosa then requested him to repeat his mantra. Thereupon the thera recited before him portions of the Abhidhammapitaka. Then knowing from the thera that it was Buddha-mantra and desiring to have a knowledge of that, he had his head shaven with the permission of his parents and became a monk.


The account in the Mahavamsa differs from that in the Buddhaghosuppatti in one respect, namely, that Moggahputta was asked questions from the Cittayamaka while Buddha- ghosa was given Abhidhamma passages in relation to kusala, akusala, and avyakata dhamma. The Saddhamma-Samgaho which closely follows the Mahavamsa, says that Buddha- ghosa, too, was asked questions from the Cittayamaka (p. 52).

The stories in the Mihnda Pafiha, the Mahavamsa and the Buddhaghosuppatti, are so alike that one cannot resist the temptation of saying that the author of the Buddha- ghosuppatti, who must have been familiar with both the Milinda Pahha and the Mahavamsa, borrowed the incidents from those works and grafted them on to his own.


Origin And Development Of Buddhist Commentaries


Before we proceed to give an account of the wonderful commentaries and other works for which re indebted to Buddhaghosa, it will prove useful, we think, to discuss the important question as to the origin and development of Bud- dhist commentaries embodying exegesis, interpretation and explanation of the teachings of the Sage of the ^akyas. In the first place, however, a word or two about the nature of a commentary seems necessary. According to Indian tradition, a commentary means reading new meanings back into old texts according to one's own education and outlook. It explains the words and judgments of others as accuratel}^ and faithfull}- as possible and this remark applies to all commentaries, Sanskrit as well as Pali. The commentary or bhasya, as it is called in Sanskrit, implies, of course, an amplification of a condensed utterance or expression which is rich in meaning and significance as the great Sanskrit poet, Magha, says in his famous Kavya^ ; but at the same time there is always an element of originalit}^ as the defini- tion given by Bharata in his lexicography shows: — "Those who are versed in the Bhasj^as call that a Bhasya where- in the meaning of a condensed saying (sutra) is presented in words that follow the text and where, moreover, the own words of the commentator himself are given."' We shall see in the account that we give below of the develop- ment of the commentary literature amongst the Buddhists that this method of giving their own words guided the great authors of the comments, although it was alwa3^s adopted by way of expansion of an authoritative text.


Before proceeding to discuss the question as to the origin of the Buddhist commentaries, we are ^Smm'entaHe^s^* confronted with the fact that the need for an accurate interpretation of the Bud- dha's words which formed the guiding principle of life and action of the members of the Sangha, was felt from the very first, even while the Master was living. Of course, there was at that time the advantage of referring a disputed question for solution to the jVIaster himself and herein we meet with the first stage in the origin of the Buddhistic comments as we shall show below. All available evidence points to the fact that within a few years of the Buddha's enlighten- ment, Buddhist headquarters were established in places ad- joining many important towns and cities of the time, viz : Benares, Rajagaha, Vesali, Nalanda, Pava, Ujjeni, Campa, Uttara Madhura, Ulumpa, Savatthi and so on. At each of these places there sprang up a community of Bhikkhus under the leadership and guidance of one or other of the famous disciples of the Buddha such as Mahakassapa, Maha- kaccayana, Mahakotthita, Sariputta, Moggallana. Following the rule of the wanderers or sophists, they used to spend the rainy season in a royal pleasure-garden or a monastery, and, thereafter, generally meet together once a year at Raja- gaha, Veluvana, Savatthi or elsewhere. Friendly interviews among themselves, and occasional calls on contemporary sophists, were not unknown. Among these various leaders „ , , of Bhikkhus, some ranked foremost in analytical exposition, some in ascetic practices, some in story-telling, some in preaching, some in philosophy, some in poetry, and so on.' Among the Bud- dha's disciples and followers, there were men who came of Brahmin families, and who had mastered the Vedas and the whole of the Vedic literature. It ma\^ be naturally asked, "what were these profoundly learned and thoughtful Bhikkhus doing all the time ? "

The Buddhist and Jaina texts tell us that the itinerant teachers of the time wandered about in the country, engaging themselves wherever they stopped in serious discussion on matters relating to religion, philosophy, ethics, morals and polity."^ Discussions about the interpretation of the abstruse utterances of the great teachers were frequent and the raison detrc of the development of the Buddhist literature, particularly of the commentaries, is to be traced in these discussions. There are numerous interesting pass- ages in the Tripitaka, telling us how from time to time con- temporary events suggested manifold topics of discussion among the Bhikkhus, or how their peace was disturbed by grave doubts calling for explanations either from the Buddha himself or from his disciples. . Whenever an interested sophist spoke vehementty ' in many ways in dispraise of the Buddha, in dispraise of the Doctrine and in dispraise of the Order whenever another such sophist misinterpreted the Buddha's opinion,^ whenever a furious discussion broke out in any contemporary Brotherho.od,' or whenever a Bhikkhu behaved improperly, the Bhikkhus generally assembled under the pavilion to discuss the subject, or were exhorted by the Buddha or by his disciples to safeguard their interests. It was on one such occasion that the Buddha was led to offer an historical exposition of the moral precepts in accordance with his famous doctrine. "One should avoid all that is evil, and perform all that is good,'" that is to say, an explanation of the precepts in their negative and positive aspects. This is now incorporated in the first thirteen suttas of the Digha- Nikaya, and is familiarly known as the Silakkhandha — " The tract on morality "—lending its name to the first volume of the Digha/ On another occasion Potaliputta, the wanderer, called on Samiddhi, and spoke thus, " According to Samana Gotama, as I actualty heard him sa3'ing, Kamma either hj way of deed or bwajof word is no Kamma at all, the real Kamma being by way of thought or volition onty. For there is an attainment after having reached which one feels noth- ing (i.e. which transcends all sensible experience and pleasure and pain)." "Mogham kayakammam, mogham vacikammaiii, manokammarii eva saccaih ti ; atthi ca sa samapatti yarii samapattim samapanno na kinci vediyatiti."

To him thus saying replied Samiddhi, " Speak not friend Potaliputta thus, speak not of him in this manner. Please do not misrepresent our teacher's point of view, for that is not good. He would never have said so."

" But tell me, friend Samiddhi, what a man will experience as the consequence of his deliberate action b}^ way of thought, word and deed." " Pain," was the repty.' When a report of this discussion was submitted to the Buddha, he regretted that the muddle- Buddha's mvn exposi. hea^^ed Samiddhi had given such one- sided answer to the second point of the wanderer whom he had never met in his life. For, the right and complete answer would in that case have been that ' he will experience either pleasure or pain or neither pleasure nor pain.' But as regards Samiddhi' s reply to the first point, he had nothing to sa against it.


Be that as it may, the fact remains that the wisdom and folly of Samiddhi, yet a young learner, formed the argument of the Buddha's longer analytical exposition of the all-important subject of Kamma, which is termed the MaJm- kammavibhanga,^ in contradistinction to his shorter exposi- tion, the Culakamma-vihhanga '^ which was addressed to a young Brahmin scholar named Subha. Thus it can be established that the M ahdkammavibhanga was the Sutta basis of the Abhidhamma Exposition of the Sikkhdpadavihhaiiga which is incorporated in the second book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka.^ But, as a matter of fact, both these expositions have left their stamp on subsequent exegetical literature as is evidenced by the Nettipakarana and the i\tthasalini * and similar works. Scanning the matter more closely, we can say that Buddhaghosa's exposition of kamma in his Atthasa- lini is really the meeting place of both.

The Majjhirna Nikaya contains many other illuminat- ing expositions of the Buddha, notably the Salayatana Vibhafiga,' the Arana Vibhahga, ' the Dhatu \ibhahga and the Dakkhina Vibhahga,' which have found their proper place in the Abhidhamma literature, supplemented by higher expositions. They have also found their way into the later commentaries including, of course, the monumental works of Thera Buddhaghosa. Then we have from Thera Sariputta, the chief disciple of Buddha, a body of exposition of the four Atyan truths, the Saccavibhafiga/ which book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, where it has been supplemented by a higher exposition (Abhi- dhammabhajaniya) based upon the sutta exposition. Sari- putta's exposition contains many of the stock-passages, or the older disconnected materials with which the whole of the Pitaka literature, as we may reasonably suppose, was built up. This piece of independent commentary has been tacked on to the Satipatthana Sutta, itself a commentary, and it furnishes the datum of a distinction between the Satipat- thana Sutta in the Majjhima Nika3'a and the Mahasatipat- thana Sutta in the Digha

A complete catechism of important terms and passages of exegetical nature is ascribed to Sariputta and is familiar- ly known as the Sangiti Suttanta "' of which a Buddhist Sanskrit version exists in Tibetan and Chinese translations under the name of the Sangiti Para} ay a Sutra. The method of grouping various topics under numerical heads and of explaining b^^ means of simple enumeration, invariably fol- lowed by Thera Sariputta in the singularly interesting cate- chism referred to above, characterises two of the older collec- tions, the Samyutta and the Ahguttara and certain books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, notably the Puggala Pafiiiatti, the materials of which were mostly drawn from the Ahguttara Nikaya. This fact alone can bring home to us the nature of Sariputta's work in connection with the Pitaka Htera- ture. But Sariputta does not exhaust the hst. We have to consider other renowned and profoundly learned disciples of the Buddha, among whom some were women, who in their own way helped forward the process of development of the commentaries. Take for example, Mahakaccayana who yana! allowed to enjoy the reputation of one who could give a detailed exposition of what was said b}^ the Buddha in brief. The Majjhima Nikaya alone furnishes four exegetical fragments written by Mahakaccayana,' which are of great value as forming the historical basis of three later works,^two in Pali and one in Buddhist Sanskrit, which are all ascribed to him. The few fragments by Mahakaccano (Mahakaccayano) which have reached us, are important for another reason : they exhibit the working of the human mind in different directions. It is interesting to note that Mahakaccano, so far as we can juge from these fragments, seldom indulges in mechanical enumeration and coining of technical terms as Sariputta did. On the contrary, he confines himself to bringing out the inner significance and true i^hilosophical bearing of the Buddha's first principles. The Gandhavaiiisa, a quite modern work written perhaps in the 17th century,^ by Nandapahha of Burmia, singles out Mahakaccayana as the teacher who not only took part in the First Council or explained from time to time the doctrines of the Buddha but compiled separate treatises.' Mahakaccayana is mentioned as a teacher of Jambudvlpa, who was the chaplain (purohita) of King Candapradyota of Avanti, who had his capital at Ujjayini.' The following exegetical works are attributed to the sage Mahakaccayana :--

1. Kaccayanagandho. 2. Mahaniruttigandho. 3. Cullaniruttigandho. 4. Nettigandho. 5. Petakopadesagandho. 6. Vannanitigandho.

Then we have to make our acquaintance with Thera Mahakotthita who was regarded as an authority next to none but the Buddha himself on Patisambhida or methodology of the Buddha's analytical system. In the Majjhima Nikaya again we meet with his disquisition on the characteristic marks or specific differences of current abstract terms signifying the various elements of experience.' He warns us at the same time against a possible misconception. Reason, understanding, perception, sensation and so forth are not entities. They are dissociated but all are inseparably associated * in reality.

The first part of Mahakotthita's explanation may be said to be the historical foundation of the Lakkhanahara in the Nettipakarana, of some passages in the Milinda-Pahho ' and certain statements in the commentaries of Buddhaghosa ' ; we have similar contributions from Moggallana, Ananda, Dhammadinna and Khema, but we need not multiply in- stances. A careful examination of the contents of the second book of the Abhidhammapitaka proves an expos^tTon. bcyond doubt that there is no hard and fast line between the Sutta and the Abhidhamma Pitakas, the division resting mainl}- upon a difference in modus operandi. The Abhidhamma method was based upon and followed closely the line of the Sutta exposition, which is evidenth^ earlier. It goes without say- ing that the difference between the two methods is not only one of degree, but at times, one of kind. In spite of the fact that the Abhidhamma exposition is direct, definite and methodical, we cannot say that in all cases, its value is greater than that of the Sutta exposition. There will always be a difference of opinion among Buddhist scholars as to whether the Abhidhamma books contain the genuine words of the Buddha Gotama. ' It is nevertheless certain that the major portion of that literature is based upon the teachings and expositions of the Great Sage. There may be a Sariputta or some other unseen hands at work behind the scene, but, on the whole, the credit, as history proves it, belongs ultimately to the Buddha himself. The whole of the Abhi- dhamma Pitaka has been separately classed by Buddhaghosa as Vey3^akarana or exposition. We are told that this class comprises also the gatha-less or prose suttas which are not found in the remaining eight classes of the early Buddhist liter- ature/ The foregoing discussion has shown that the Vedal- las need not be grouped as a separate class. There is no reason why the Culavedalla and the Mahavedalla Suttas in the Maj jhima Nikaya should not be included in the veyyakarana class. At all events it has been clearly proved that in the Tripitakas, excluding the Kathavatthu which was composed in the third century B.C., we have two layers, so to say, of veyvakarana, viz. the Suttabha- Two layers of vey-vakarana in the early jautya and the Abhidliammabhajaniya.

Buddhist literature.

Khandha, Vibhanga, Niddesa — these are but different synonyms of the same term. That is to say, the Suttas containing terminology^, definition, enumeration or explanation, whether with or without such names as Khandha, Vibhafiga, Niddesa, constitute the first great land- mark ; and the six Abhidhamma books, largely based upon the Suttas, the second landmark in the history of the Buddhist commentaries. The third landmark is not so easy to deter- mine. Here we have a choice between a few works ' ascribed to Mahakaccano and the Kathavatthu of which Thera MoggaHputta Tissa is said to be the The works of Mahakaccayana . author . As regards the date of the latter, it is certain that the book was com- posed about the time of the third Buddhist Council held under the auspices of King Asoka. The case of Mahakac- cano' s works is somewhat different. A careful survey of the Petakopadeso which is still buried in manuscripts, show^s that whatever be the date of its composition, it is a supplementary treatise to the Nettipakarana of which there is a beautiful edition iii Roman character by Prof. E. Hardy. A Buddhist Sanskrit work, the Jiianaprasthana Sastra by a Mahakatya- 3^ana, is held, as Prof. Takakusu informs us, as an authorita- tive text by the Sarvastivadins. This Sastra is mentioned by Vasuvandhu in his Abhidharmakosa ' as one of the seven Abhi- dhamma books. The work was translated into Chinese by Sahghadeva and another in A.D. 383. Another translation was made in A.D. 657 by Hiuen Tsang who translated also the Abhidharmamahavibhasasastra, a commentary on Maha- katyayana's work composed during the council under Kaniska. The Chinese traveller tells us that the Jiianaprasthana Sastra was composed three hundred years after the death of the Buddha. Buddhist scholars have yet to settle the question whether or not the Jiianaprasthana has anything in common with the Nettipakarana or with the Patthana, the seventh book of the Abhidhammapitaka. The Netti, as we now have it, contains a section named Sasanapatthana which em- bodies a classification of the Pitaka passages according to their leading thoughts. Judging from the vakiable extract from the Jhanaprasthana given by Prof. Takakusu we can decide once for all that the work is not identical with the Pali Abhidhamma book, the Patthana, though presum.abh^ it bears some relation to the latter. The Netti and the Jhana- prasthana have many points in common, as the^^ were written to serve a similar purpose.

In the opening paragraphs or pages of his two books, Mahakaccayana frankly states that his work was not to start a new idea but to produce a systematic and analytical exposition of the expressions of others (paratoghosa). The Parikkharahara ' of the Netti is a chapter based upon the Patthana, though it throws new light on the subject of casual correlation. As appears from the section on Nayasamut- thana, Mahakaccayana refers to the Buddhist schismatics or heretics (Ditthicarita asmim sasane pabbajita) whom he sharply distinguishes from the outsiders (Ditthicarita ito bahiddhapabbajita). Such a thing as this is not possible within the first century of the Buddha's Nibbana. It presup- poses the four Nikayas and all other older books of the three pitakas from which it has quoted several passages. Without going into further detail, we will not be far from the truth to assume that the works of Mahakaccayana were indeed a connecting link between the Tripitaka on one side and all subsequent texts on the other. Thus if we have to choose between his works and the Kathavatthu, the priority must be said to belong to the former.

represents the fourth landmark. Bud- dhaghosa's plea for affiliation of this significant text to the Pali Canon is ingenious enough. The Buddha laid down the main propositions which were discussed later by the adher- ents of different schools of thought.' It m.ay, however, be doubted whether a book of controversy such as the Katha- vatthu, can be regarded as a landmark in the history of the commentaries. But a closer inv'estigation will make it evi- dent that this book of controversy is looked upon in one way as no more than a book of interpretation, as Mahakaccayana ' rightly points out that the Buddhist heretics, in spite of their individual differences, agreed so far as their regard for the teachings of the Master was concerned. The few speci- mens of controversy which the Kathavatthu has embodied show that both sides referred to the Buddha as the final court of appeal. All have quoted passages from the Canon, though their interpretations differ widely.

Next we have to think of the "Questions of King Milinda" (Milinda-Pahho), which is a be said to be the sixth landmark. Besides the Ceylon com- mentaries, Buddhaghosa has made casual '^BuddhTghosa.^ references to the opinions of the Dighabhanakas,' the Majjhimabhanakas' and other schools of Theras. In his introduction to the Su- mangalavilasini, he gives us a short account of these schools of Theras, which were originally but so many schools of recit- ation rather than of opinion. In the background of Bud- dhaghosa' s works which are catalogued here as the seventh landmark, there are the whole of Tripitaka, the works of Mahakaccayana, the Kathavatthu, the Mihnda-Panho,"^ the Pannattivada of teachers other than the Theravadins.^ cer^ tain Vitandavadins, Pakativada '^ (the Sahkhya or the Yoga system), and the views of the Bhikkhus ' of Ce3don.

We have now to take into account another class of an- cient Buddhist literature, the Poranas, The Poranas. of which our knowleage at present is based only upon some extracts in the Atthakathas. Nandapaiiiia in his Gandhavariisa refers to the Porana- cariya or the ancient teachers. According to him, the five hundred Arahats who named the five Nikayas, made their meanings and purports, their exposition and correction in the First council as well as the seven hundred Arahats who made their proper interpretation, etc., in the Second council, together with one thousand Arahats who also made their proper interpretation in the Third council, are known as the Pofanacariya except Mahakaccayana. It is distinct^ stated in the Gandhavamsa that those who are the Poranacariya are also the iVtthakathacariya or the teachers who wrote the Atthakathas.' Buddhaghosa speaks of the Porana or the Poranakatthera '^ as persons who declare that those who ob- serve the precepts will uphold the Buddhasisana or the teaching of the Lord. This is said in connection with those who learn Dhamma from their teachers and maintain the views of their teachers. They do not entertain any dogma- tic view of their own. These include, according to the Candhavariisa, the Arahats who took part in the proceed- ings of the Three Councils and were evidently the earliest contributors to the commentary literature, as the name Atthakathacariya given them by Nandapahfia shows. The Mahatika also quotes from a Poranatthakatha as pointed out by Mrs. Rhys Davids.' We have seen before that questions often arose among the members of the Sangha about the interpretation of some of the utterances of the Buddha and they were at last submitted for decision to the Master himself while he was on earth but after his pari- nibbana, the great and the revered teachers were approached. The interpretations given by them must have been consi- dered decisive and valuable and hence they were no doubt preserved and when the commentaries came to be compiled, the}' were embodied in the great Atthakathas where they were simph" referred to as the explanations given b^- 'the great teachers of old (Poranas).

Buddhaghosa, when he quotes the Poranas, does so in a way that makes it probable that he is quoting the direct words of these ancient teachers as when he is quoting a canonical text. It is probable that the Poranatthakathas or the contributions made by these nameless sages of old, were preserved in the great Sinhalese commentaries and distinguished b}^ being quoted in the original Pali. Of course, in the absence of more definite data, we offer this as a mere suggestion. We are not in- clined to agree with Mrs. Rhys Davids when she suggests that these Poranas represented a consistent school of philo- sophical thought. Each teacher must have been responsible for himself alone and we think it hopeless to discover an organic connection among the numerous short and long pas- sages attributed to the Poranas in Buddhaghosa's writings. They include matters of diverse interest and importance, metaph3'sical speculations as well as fanciful legends, as in the m3^thical account of the origin of the Licchavis in the Paramatthajotika.' A collection of these Porana citations will certainly be highly valuable, as ]\Irs. Rhy Davids sug- gests, ' for the decision of matters connected with the history and development of Buddhist thought and Buddhist literature. We quote below a few of the many quotations made by Buddhaghosa of the views of the Poranas; it will be seen that they touch upon a variety of subjects. Thus in his Samantapasadika ' while giving the history of the composi- tion of the Vinaya-Atthakatha, Buddhaghosa says that this work was brought by Mahinda and others to Ceylon. From Mahinda and others, Aritthathera and others learnt and preserved it. From them up till now it has been preserved by their disciples from generation to generation.

After saying this in ordinary prose, he quotes the Pora- nas thus: "The Poranas say that on the full moonday of the month of Jyaistha, Mahinda and others including Itthiyo, Uttiyo, Bhaddasala, Sambala, Sumana samanero and Bhan- duko upasako assembled together and discussed whether it was proper time for them to go to Tambapanni (Ceylon)." ' The Poranas say that after living for thirty days on Vediyapabbata at Rajagaha, they thought that the time to go to Ceylon was come. So they went to Ceylon from Jam- budvipa and got down on the top of Cetiyapabbata.' Now it will be seen that the Porana account is in verse and furnishes greater details of the same historical event, and evidently it forms the basis of the prose account. In all probability, while translating the account from the Sinhalese Atthakatha, Buddhaghosa found the Porana verses there just as we have them now in the original Pali and simply transferred them to his commentary without having to change the language. It will be observed that these verses are the same as those given in the Mahavamsa and apparently the Atthakatha and the chronicle drew from the same source. Again in his Visuddhimagga, Buddhaghosa quotes a verse from the Poranas, giving an explanation of a term, thus : "The Poranas say, 'Bhagava' means the great (Settho), Bhagava means the best (Uttama) and as he is endowed with honour and respect, therefore he is called Bhagava." In the same work he quotes another Porana verse with reference to a point of discipline of the Bhikkhus, thus : " The Poranas say, the following points are to be considered in a case of theft committed by a Bhikkhu : the thing stolen, time, country, price and also the period for which the thing stolen had been used by the real owner."


" Vediyagirimhi Rajagahe vasitva timsarattiyo, Kalova gamanassati gacchama dipamuttam. Phalina Jambudipato hamsaraja va ambare Evamuppattita thera nipatimsu naguttame. Purato purasetthassa pabbate meghasannibhe, Patiiiisu Silakutamhi hamsavanagamuddhani." ' Samantapasadika, p. 62. Cf. Visuddhimagga (P.T.S.), p. 209. " Bhagava ti vacanaiii setthaiii Bhagava ti vacanuttamarii, Garugaravayutto so Bhagava tena vuccatTti." ^ Ibid., p. 177


Next, we quote from his xVtthasalini a Porana passage giving details about mythical regions, thus: " The Poranas say that Patali, Simbah, Jambu and Paricchattaka of the Devas, Kadainba, Kapparukkha and Sirisena — these seven trees are existing in Asuraloka, among the garulas, in the Aparagoyana, in Uttarakuru, in Pubbavideha and in the Tavatimsa Heaven respectively." ^ To sum up : we have seen that there is evidence enough to confirm the truth of the tradition that

Conclusion. neither Buddhaghosa, nor the Thera Ma- hinda, nor the theras of old, were the originators of the commentaries. We may say that the Buddha himself, his immediate disciples and their disciples, all prepared the way for the great Buddhaghosa ; at the same time we cannot agree with those who totally deny the latter's claim to any origin- ality. The Niddesa which is an old commentary on certain suttas in the Sutta Nipata, cannot compare favourably with Buddhaghosa' s Paramatthajotika.

" Vatthum kalanca desanca aggham paribhogapancanarii Tulayitva pancathanani dhareyyatthaiii vicakkhano." Atthasalini (P.T.S.), P- 299. " Patali simbali jambu devanam paricchattako kadambo kapparukVho ca sirisena bhavati sattamanti."


Buddhaghosa's Works


The Mahavamsa tells us, as we have seen in Chapter I^ that before Buddhaghosa left India for Ceylon under the in- structions of his spiritual preceptor, the sage Revata Thera, he had already produced the Nanodaya and the Atthasalini. The Nanodaya (Sanskrit Jhanodaya), as its name, ' Rising of Knowledge,' implies, is a philosophical treatise, about the exact nature of the contents of which The Nanodaya.

we know nothing as yet, as it does not appear to have been preserved ; nor is any description of this early work of Buddhaghosa to be met with anywhere in Pali literature. The preservation of it was not perhaps considered necessary as his later and more informed work, the Visuddhimagga, had most probably incorporated every- thing of a permanent value that was in it and thereby supplanted it. The Ceylonese chronicle further tells us that Buddha- ghosa wrote also the Atthasalini or commentary on the Dhammasarigani before his departure for the southern island and the Sasana- varhsa supports this statement.'

The Buddhaghosuppatti has got nothing to say about this work. But the Saddhamma Sangaho ' has an inter- esting account of it. " Buddhaghosa while traveUing in Jambudvipa, came to a vihara where the Mahathera Revata dwelt. There he began writing the Atthasalini, a comment- ary on the Dhammasahgani, after completing the Nanodaya. The revered Thera Revata seeing him thus engaged , spoke to him thus, ' O Buddhas^hosa, in Jambudvipa, there is only the text of the three pitakas. The commentaries (iVtthakathas) and the opinions of the teachers (Acariyavada) do not exist here. The Atthakathas have been recited in the three con- vocations made by Sariputta and others and translated into Sinhalese by Mahinda. They exist in Ceylon. Go there and render all into Magadhi.' " With reference to the same work, we are further told : " Buddhaghosa immediately after having rendered the Mahapaccariyatthakatha which occurs in the Abhidhammapitaka from Sinhalese into Magadhi, composed the commentary (Atthakatha) on the Dhammasangani, named the Atthasalini." '

In the first statement we are told that the work was produced at Gaya before Buddhaghosa proceeded to Ceylon and this is what we find in the Mahavamsa ; whereas in the second, we are told that it was written after several other works had been produced. These two apparently contra- dictory statements are no doubt to be reconciled, as Mrs. Rhys Davids suggests,' by thinking that the Atthasalini, though at first written at Gaya, was subjected to a thorough revision by its author after his studies in the great Attha- kathas in Ceylon. This would be quite natural in the case of a commentary dealing with abstruse philosophical theses. The Saddhamma Sangaho further gives us the information that Buddhaghosa, while revising this commentary^ derived his materials from the Maha Paccari or the Great Raft commentary which probably contained a more detailed exposition of the subject matter dealt with here. In the introductory verses to his Atthasalini, quoted in Chapter 1, we have seen that the author refers to the Atthakathas which he had translated into the pure language of Magadha. Further^ in the body of the work he quotes from or refers to, as Mrs. Rhys Davids has shown, many works including the Ceylonese Atthakathas and some of his own works^ such as the Samantapasadika and the Visuddhimagga. Evident- ly, therefore, the whole book was re-written in the light of the additional knowledge he acquired in Ceylon. The text of the Atthasalini has been edited by Dr. Edward Miiller for the Pali Text Society of England and an excellent translation has come out due to the combined labours of Mrs. Rhys Davids and Mr. Maung Tin, so that this com- mentary of the Thera Buddhaghosa is now available to everyone who is interested in it.

Before speaking of the other great commentaries, we shall refer to the Visuddhimagga which is esteemed as an /Encyclopaedia of Buddhism. That the Visuddhimagga * (Path of Purity) was Buddliaghosa's first production in Ceylon is beyond dispute. He does not quote from or refer to any of his other works, as is the case with the AtthasaHni, but it must have been produced after he had gone to Ceylon, as is evident from the fact that he refers to the Atthakathas which were available in Ceylon only and not on the main-land. It is said to have been composed ' under somewhat romantic circumstances.' ' ' It is called a marvellous production.' It has earned for its author an everlasting fame. It is considered to be the only book in which the whole of the Buddhist system is well depicted. It does not contribute anything to the Pitakas but it aims at a systematic arrangement of their contents.' "7" It is not a commentary on any text, but claims to be a comj^endium of the whole Buddha-system, conduct, medita- tion, contemplation, the elements of being, the senses, the truths, the chain of causation and the rest." * The character and contents of the Visuddhimagga have been thus des- cribed by Spence Hardy : '^The Visuddhimagga, a compen- dium formed by Buddhaghosa, presents an abstract of the doctrinal and metaphysical parts of the Buddhistical creed.

to the first century A.D., and was a contemporary of King Vasabha of Ceylon (A.D. 66-109). The work is entirely lost in Ceylon and it exists only in a Chinese translation dated A.D. 505 by a Cambodian priest named Sanghapala. Mr. Nagai in Section 5 of his article shows how the Chinese text agrees generally with the text of the Visuddhimagga, and further records thus, "the difference in each case can be accounted for in one way or another on the ground of re arrangement, interpolation or curtailment. On the whole, the description of the Chinese is much simpler than that of the Pali." (J.l'.T.S., 1017-1919, PP- 69-80.)

which, as being the work of the last commentator on the Buddhistical scriptures, acquires an authority and authenti- city which no compendium exclusively formed by an}^ Orien- talist of a different faith, and more modern times, can have any claim to '"

An account of the contents of the Visuddhimagga is recorded in the Sumafigala-Vilasini which runs thus, " The nature of the silakatha, dhutadhamma, kammatthanani together with all the cariyavidhani, jhanani, the whole scope of the samapatti, the whole of abhifihana, the exposition of the pafina, the khandha, the dhatu, the ayatanani, indiriyani, the four ariyasaccani, the pachchayakara, the pure and comprehensive naya and the indispensable magga and viphas- sanabhawana."

Mr. Gray in his appreciation of this work remarks, " If he had written nothing else, it alone would have secured him undying fame." '

Let us go into the contents of the v/ork as briefly as possible. The first chapter deals ontents^^ t^e visud ^yj^j^ nidanakatha, silaniddeso and five kinds of sila ; the second chapter, with dhutariganiddeso ; the thirteen dhutafigas (name of certain ascetic practices) are discussed here ; the third chapter deals with kammatthanagahananiddeso. explains how to be- gin meditation. The fourth chapter deals with pathavika^ sinaniddeso ; in it are described eighteen faults (kasinadosas) which render a vihara unfit, two grades of samadhi and so forth. The fifth chapter deals with sesakasinaniddeso. Mr. Warren in his table of contents of Buddhaghosa's Visuddhi- magga has named Chapter V as dasakasina-niddeso (Expo- sition of ten Kasinas).' The sixth chapter treats ot asubha- kammatthana-niddeso. In it we have the description of the asubhas and the use of them The seventh chapter is devot- ed to cha-anussati-niddeso ; under this we have ten anussa- tis and three lokas. The eighth chapter treats of anussati- kammatthana-niddeso. We have contemplation of death, eightfold manasikaravidhi, etc. The ninth chapter deals with brahmavihara-niddeso, classes of persons unsuitable, various directions for removal of enmity. The tenth chapter deals with aruppa-niddeso ; here we have the exposition of the four aruppas. The eleventh chapter explains samadhi-niddeso. Samadhi, the five blessings of samadhi, etc., are dealt with in this chapter. The twelfth and the thirteenth chapters deal with iddhi-vidha-niddeso and abhiiina-niddeso. The remaining chapters deal with khandhaniddeso, ayatanadha- tuniddeso, indriya-sacca-niddeso, pafiiiabhumi-niddeso, dit- thivisuddhi-niddeso, kahkhavitaranavisuddhi-niddeso, mag- gamaggahana-dassanavisuddhi-niddeso, Patipada-hanadas- sanavisuddhi-niddeso, Nanadassanavisuddhi-niddeso, Pan- fiabhavananisaiiisa-niddeso.

n short, the work deals with kusala, akusala, avyakata dhamma, ayatana, dhatu, satipatthanas, kanimas, pakati, and many other topics of Buddhist philosophy. It contains the whole of the Buddhist philosophy in a nut-shell. The language of the Visuddhimagga is very difficult to under- stand. The vocabulary is very rich. Big words are often used and long passages are frequent. It is complete in itself. It was written at the request of the Thera Sangha- pala.^ The Visuddhimagga is an abridged compilation of the three pitakas together with quotations from the Attha- kathas on those passages of the three pitakas which are mentioned in it. (" Buddhaghoso ca saddhim atthakathaya pitakattayam samkhipitva Visuddhimagga rh akasi." Sasa- navamsa, p. 31.) According to Mr. E. W. BurUngame, the approximate date of the Visuddhimagga is We now come to the great commentaries on works of the Tripitaka for the production of The Ceylonese commentaries on works of whicli Buddhaghosa crossed the sea. We have already referred to the story 01 his voyage to Ceylon. A portion of it will well bear repetition. His teacher Revata is represented as saying to him, " The Pali (text of the Tripitaka) only has been brought over here, no commentary is extant in this place. The divergent opin- ions of the teachers other than the Theravadins do not like- wise exist. The Ceylon commentary, which is faultless, and which was written in Sinhalese by the thoughtful Mahinda with due regard to the methods of exposition as taught by the supreme Buddha, put up before the three councils, and rehearsed by Sariputta and others, is current among the people of Ceylon. Please go there and study it, and then translate it into Magadhi which will be useful to the world.'" From this it is evident that the commentaries were not to be found in India at the time of Buddhaghosa : they were all to be found in Ceylon. It follows further that the comment- aries, as they have come down to us, were not the original compositions of either Buddhaghosa or his illustrious prede- cessor Mahinda. These commentaries, as appears from tradi- tion, were originally the productions not of a single author but of a community of brethren. Mahinda w^as merely a translator into Sinhalese, and Buddhaghosa, a retranslator into Pali. Buddhaghosa himself frankl}^ admits in his pro- logues to several commentaries ^ that he annotated those passages only which were not commented upon by his prede- cessors, and the rest he onl}^ translated. We are told by the Mahavariisa as well as the later works on Buddhaghosa's life how the great thera after his arrival in Ceylon had to submit to an examination which resulted in the production of the Visuddhimagga, and in the final granting of permission to the Indian scholar to use all the Sinhalese commentaries. The Saddhamma-Sangaho narrates how the revered Bud- dhaghosa took all the books and, while dwelling at the Padhanaghara on the southern side of the Mahavihara, translated all the Sinhalese commentaries into Magadhi.' The Sasanavamsa says that more than nine hundred and thirty years since the passing awa}^ of the Lord, during the reign of the Burmese King, Sah-Ivan-Krom, Buddhaghosa wrote his works. ^ The Atthakathas w^hich existed at the time Buddhaghosa lived in Ceylon, are no longer extant, but the names of some of them have come down to us mainly in Buddhaghosa' s own works which supplanted them elsewhere. These names as given by Mrs. Rhys Davids are : " (i) The commentary of the dwellers in the ' North Minster ' —the Uttara Vihara — at Anuradhapura. (2) The Mula, or Maha-Atthakatha, or simply ' The Atthakatha ' of the dwel- lers in the 'Great Minster' — the Maha Vihara — also at Anuradhapur. (3) The Andha-atthakatha, handed down at Kaficipura (Conjevaram) in South India. (4) The Maha Paccari or Great Raft, said to be so called from its having been composed on a raft somewhere in Ceylon. (5) The Kurunda Atthakatha so called because it was composed at the Kurundavelu Vihara in Ceylon. (6) The Sankhepa ' Saddhamma-Sangaho, p. 55. " Buddhaghoso sabbe potthake gahetva Maha- viharassa dakkhina-bhage Padhanaghararii nama ekasmin pasade vasanto sabbarh Sihalatthakathaih parivattetva mulabhasaya Magadhikaya niruttiya "

Atthakatha or short commentary, which, as being mentioned together with the Andha commentary, may possibty be also South Indian." ' Of these, Buddhaghosa's vSamantapasadika mentions three, as we have seen, viz : the Maha- Atthakatha, the Mahapaccari-atthakatha and the Mahakurunda-atthakatha. Coming now to the individual works of Buddhaghosa's commentaries on the Tripitaka, we find, first of all, his commentaries on the Vinaya Pitaka which may be described thus : — I. Bamantapasadika^It was written at the request of a thera named Buddhasiri. It is a Commentaries on the Vinaya Pitaka— the voluniiuous Commentary on the five Samantapasadika. ' . books 01 the vmaya Pitaka. In the preface to this work, the commentator tells us that this was the first commentar}^ he wrote on the canonical texts. He apologises for undertaking to write, first of all, a commentary on the Vinaya Pitaka, contrary to the usual order of Dhamma and Vinaya. He says that Vinaya is the foundation of the Buddhist faith. The work itself supplies us with sufficient materials with which to write a social, political, moral, religious and philosophical history of ancient India. The rules of morality are well explained in it. The Samanta- pasadika was followed by commentaries on the four Nikayas in succession which preceded the commentaries on the seven books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. The book can be had in three volumes in Burma. Some printed portions are available in Cejdon. A portion of the Pali vSaniantapasadika was rendered into Chinese by Sanghabhadra in 489 A.D.' 2. Kankhavitarani — He wrote it of his own accord and not at the instance of others. It is a commentary on the Patnnokkha (which is one of the books of the Vinaya Pitaka) and embodies certain rules of discipline (Vinaya) which can easily be com- mitted to memory by Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis. It is available m Ceylon, Siam, Burma and England. We have in manuscript an ancient Sinhalese glossarj^ on the Kankhavita- rani preserved in the Government Oriental Library, Colombo. The date of the work is between 410 A.D. and 432 A.D.' Buddhaghosa also wrote commentaries on the various books of the Sutta Pitaka : —

the Sutta Pitaka— the I. Sumangalavilasini^It was writ-

ten at the request 01 the banghatnera Datha. It is a commentary en the Digha-Nikaya (Long Discourse) which is divided into three parts: — (i) Silakkhandha. (2) Mahavagga. (3) Patheya or Patikavagga.

In the Sumarigalavilasini, we have a vivid picture of sports and pastimes, geographical position of countries, effects of the life of a recluse, etc., in ancient days. The most essential points of Buddhi.sm, the details of Arahatship, are not only described in full but also compared with the

1 See Nariman's Literary History of Sanskrit Buddhism, p. 263. ^ A Catalogue of Pali, Sinhalese and Sanskrit Manuscripts in the temple libraries of Ceylon compiled by the late Louis De Zoysa, Colombo, 1885, p. 2.

Brahman ideal on the one hand and with the ordinary moraHty of a good layman on the other. It is rich in historical information and folk-lore and it abounds in narra- tives which throw a flood of light on the social, political, religious and philosophical history of India at the time of the Buddha. It has been printed and published in Burma. Two sermons of it in two parts have been published in Ceylon. It gives us a glimpse of the erudite learning of Buddhaghosa. Its language is not so confused as that of his other commentaries. 2. Papaficasudani — It was written at the request of a thera named Buddhamitta. It is a commentary on the Majjhmia Nikaya (Middle Discourse) which is divided into three parts : — (i) Mulapahfiasa (2) Majjhimapahiiasa and (3) Uparipaiinasa.

In Ceylon the first fifty sermons and one or two sermons of the Majjhimapahhasa have been published in several parts.

3. Saratthapakasini—It was written at the request of a thera named Jotipala. It is a commentary on the Samyutta Nikaya, that is to say, a commentary on (i) Sagathavagga,

(2) Nidanavagga, (3) Khandhavagga, (4) Salayatanavagga and (5) Mahavagga.


The whole book can be had in print in Ceylon and Burma, 4. Manorathapurani — It was written at the request of a thera named Bhaddanta. It is a commentary on the Ahguttara Nikaya which is divided into eleven parts, such as, Ekanlpata, Dukanipata, Tikanipata, etc. The complete work has been printed and published in Ceylon and Burma.

5. Khuddakanikayatthakatha — Buddhaghosa wrote a commentary on four books of the ^klyatthakath"!" Khuddaka Nikaya. He wrote comment- aries on the Khuddakapatha, the Dham- mapada, and the Suttanipata. Commentaries on the Khuddakapatha and on the Suttanipata are known as the Paramatthajotika. He wrote them of his own accord. They have recently been edited and published by the Pali Text Society, London. Next we come to the Dhammapadatthakatha. Doubts have been raised whether Buddhaghosa s the author of this work. It is a work of immense bulk consisting not merely of the Atthakatha proper, that is, explanations of the words and expressions in the text, but also an immense mass of illustrative tales of the nature of the Jataka stories. H. C. Norman who has edited the complete work for the P.T.vS., is of opinion that these illustrative stories are from the hand of a later redactor and the word for word com- mentary only is due to Buddhaghosa; while Mr. E. W. BurHngame in his Buddhist Legends translated from the Dhammapada commentary, would not attribute even this much of the authorship to the great commentator.

Accord- ing to Buddhist tradition, Buddhaghosa is the author of this Attthakatha and this is supported by the colophon of the work itself which attributes it to him. There is also a reference to the Mahavihara in Ceylon, as Norman points out,^ and this fact also would support its connection with Buddhaghosa, as it was here that Buddhaghosa wrote his commentaries. Mr. Burlingame lays the greatest stress upon the difference in language and style between the Dhamma- padatthakatha and the other commentaries which un- doubtedly belong to Buddhaghosa. But here we may sug- gest that the difference that is observable, may be due to the difference in the subject-matter of the various texts taken up for comment. The Dhammapada, unlike the great Nikayas which consist of prose and gathas, is entirely made up of gathas with the prose setting, which, in the Nikayas, is supplied in the text itself.

Here, therefore, there was the necessity of bringing it into line with those canonical works. Hardy has pointed out ^ that the story of the merchant Ghosaka, as told by Buddhaghosa in the Manorathapurani, differs from the same story as told in the Dhammapada commentary. Here we must bear in mind the fact that Buddhaghosa was not writing an in- dependent commentary of his own on the canonical texts, but that he was, for the most part, translating or compiling from various Sinhalese commentaries, sometimes from the


Maha-Atthakatha, sometimes from the ]\Iahapaccari and sometimes again from the Kurunda Atthakatha ; Buddha- ghosa, therefore, cannot be held responsible for the varia- tions in the narratives, which might have been due to the differences in the authorship of the great old commentaries which, as we have shown in the last chapter, embodied the joint labours of an immense number of Buddhist sages and scholars who had been working at the interpretation of the Master's sayings ever since they were uttered ; and the commentaries had been growing through the mam^ centuries that intervened between the Buddha and our commentator who gave the final shape to them.

Some difference in the large number of legends, fables and stories incorporated in the commentaries, ma}^ naturally be expected. We are, therefore, inclined to think that the colophon ascribing the authorship of the Dhammapada-atthakatha to Buddhaghosa is correct, though this authorship so far as the Dhammapada commentary is concerned, might have extended to no more than translating from the original commentaries in Ceylon. That there were different versions of the illustrative stories as well as the recensions of the Dhammapada it.self before Buddhaghosa, appears from a comparison of the Pali work with the Chinese translation, the text of which is said to have been taken to China in 223 A.D. Beal's 'Dhamma- pada from the Buddhist Canon ' ' translated from the Chinese version, shows a great deal of difference from the Pali work in the canonical gathas as well as the illustrative tales. Therefore, the differences observed in the two versions of the story of Ghosaka in the two commentaries of Bnddha- ghosa are not of much consequence.

In the prologue of the Dhammapada-atthakatha, Buddhaghosa says that he translated the Sinhalese comment- aries into Magadhi (tanti), adding here and there notes of his own at the request of a thera named Kumarakassapa.' The Dhammapada commentary contains many liumorous tales, animal stories, legends of saints, etc. vSome of these stories are referred to in the Milinda-Pafiho, e.g. Mattha- kundali, Sumaiia, etc. (vide Buddhist Legends, pt. I, pp. 60-62). Parallels to the stories of this book can be found in the Divyavadana and in the Tibetan Kandjur (vide Buddhist Legends, pt. I, pp. 63-64). Buddhaghosa's commentaries on the Abhidhamma Pitaka are the following : a certain section of the Dhammasaii- gani, about which we have already spoken at some length. In Burma, it is widely studied by student monks and is often quoted by authors of Abhidhamma works. It is one of the best known works of Buddhaghosa. A cursory examination of the Atthasalini shows that it was composed after the Samantapasadika to which it refers in pages 97 and 98 of the P.T.S. edition.

2. Sammohavinodani — A commentary- on the \^ibhariga (Exposition). 3. Dhatukathapakaranatthakatha — A commentary on the Dhatukatha (talk of elements). 4. Puggala Pafifiattipakaranatthakatha — A comment- ary on the Puggala Pafinatti, an English translation of which by the present writer is being printed and published by the Pali Text Society, London. 5. Kathavatthu atthakatha — A commentary on the Kathavatthu ( Points of controvers}') . 6. Yamakapakaranatthakatha — ^A commentary on the Yamaka. 7. Patthanapakaranatthakatha--A commentary on the Patthana, the last book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, written at the request of a monk named Cullabuddhaghosa.'


Buddhaghosa also wrote the Paritta-atthakatha which is one of the books of the Abhidhamma Pitaka. His later commentaries refer to his earlier ones '^ and all presuppose his Visuddhimagga."' I According to the Gandhavamsa (J. P.T.S. , 1886, p. 63), an author named Cnlla- buddhaghosa composed two treatises, Jatattaginidanarii and Sotattaginidanarii. It appears that he flourished long after Buddhaghosa. The-^'Gandhavaiiisa gives the names of a number of authors between him and Buddhaghosa, He must, therefore, be differentiated from Cullabuddhaghosa referred to here. •? Sumaiigalavilasini, Vol. I, p. 70, " Atthikehi Samantapasadikaiii Vinayattha- kathaiii oloketva gahetabbarii.' Puggala Panfiatti commentary, p. 222, " Ayam Aiiguttaratthakathayaiiinayo." See also P.P. Com., p. 247. Atthasalini refers to the Samantapasadika, pp. 97 and 98, to the Vibhaiiga commentary, p. 407. ^ Atthasalini, pp. 168, 186, 187, 190, 198. Sumaiigalavilasini, Vol. I, p. 2:

Besides these commentaries, it is recorded in the Sasanavamsa, Buddhaghosa wrote The Pitakatyalakkha-nagandha. ttavalakkhaiiagandha ; and a vSanskrit work, " Padyacudamani " ' attributed to Buddhaghosa, has been recently published by order of the Government of Madras. It has been edited by Mr. Kuppu- swami Sastri and another.

It is a mahakavya in Sanskrit on the life of the Buddha. There is nothing in the book itself to show who the author was except only a few words of usual modesty in the second and third stanzas of the first canto. The colo- phons at the end of the cantos describe the work as written by Buddhaghosacar3^a or simply Buddhaghosa. Mr. S. Kup- puswarni Sastri, the editor of the work, has identified this Buddhaghosa with the great commentator. Before discus.s- ing the question of this identity we shall give a summary of its contents which will put us in a position to examine the matter thoroughly. The work con.sists of ten cantos containing six hundred and forty-one stanzas. It opens with a description of the city of Kapilavastu (Kapila- nagara). Then comes an account of J^uddhodana and his Queen Maya. The second canto begins with an account of the visit of the gods to the Tusita Heaven. Next we find a description of the Tusita Heaven, which is followed by an account of the gods' interview with the Lord of the place, and a description of the Lord in twent3"-three verses. Then the gods uttered seventeen stanzas in praise of the Lord who being pleased with them, complied with their request to be born on earth as the son of Suddhodana. The gods being de- lighted, went to their respective places and the Lord of the Tusita entered the womb of Maa.

The third canto opens with a description of Ma^^adevi in her state of preg- nancy. In the tenth verse of the same canto, the birth of the child is described, followed by a long narrative of the incidents at hi-^ birth. Then comes an account of Sud- dhodana' s gifts at the birth of his son and the performance of the rites at child-birth and the naming of the child. Verses 33-41 contain an account of the prince's bo5ash sports. Then comes the account of his initiation and study, his attainment of youth and installation as heir-ap- parent.

The fourth canto opens with a talk of marriage of the prince, the offer of a daughter b}^ a Koliya chief and Sud- dhodana' s assent to it. \^erses 4-35 contain an account of the decoration of the Koliya capital of the Koliya princess and of the princeh^ bridegroom. Vej'ses 36-53 describe the marriage ceremon}^^ and the rest of the canto is devoted to an account of the prince's coming to Kapilavastu, the excite- ment of the women of Kapilavastu at his sight, etc. The fifth canto describes the enjoyments of the prince in the different seasons. King Suddhodana then asked the prince to show him his skill in the use of weapons, which the latter promised to do on the seventh da3\ The canto closes with an account of the display of skill in the use of weapons by the prince. The sixth canto opens with a description of the spring.

The prince goes out for sports in a garden. There the gods present before him, an old man, a sick man and a dead man. Next foUow the prince's enquiry about them from his charioteers and their reply, his return to the city and his meeting with an ascetic, his questions to the charioteers about the ascetic and their reply. The canto ends with a description of the prince's desire to sport in the garden again. The seventh canto opens with a description of the garden. The prince goes to the lake for sporting in water. A description of the lake and sports occurs therein. The eighth canto gives a vivid picture of the sunset, and the darkness after sunset and contains a description of the sky and moonrise.

The prince is next mentioned as enter- ing his palace. The ninth canto opens with the prince seated on a beautiful couch and going through the aratrika ceremony. Then comes a description of dancing, etc., in his presence. But he does not find any enjoyment in them and becomes moody. Then comes an account of the gods coming down and honouring him in various ways. Mention is then made, somewhat abruptly, of the prince's arrival after a journey of thirty 3^03 anas to the Anovama river (Pah, Anoma). This is followed by a description of the river. The prince crosses the stream, sends away his fol- lowers, puts on the robe of a monk and practises penance. He dwells for some time by the side of the river Anovama and goes to Rajagriha, the capital of Bimbisara for alms.'

1 The editors of the work as well as the commentators have referred to a P-imba- sarapuri in verse 35. Bimbasarapuri is evidently a wrong reading for Binibisarapuri or the city of King Bimbisara, i.e. Rajagriha.


After going round the streets and collecting alms, he goes to the mountain called Pandava. There he takes his meal, enters a forest and practises austere penances for a long time. Not being able to attain Nirvana by means of those austerities, he began to ponder the means of attaining his desired object. One night he dreamt five dreams. He awoke and understanding their meaning, ascertained that he would, on that very day, attain Nirvana. Having performed his morning duties and waiting for the time of begging, he sat at the foot of a banyan tree. Then a woman brought a quantity of milk-rice for the deity residing in that tree. Taking him for the deity, she offered the payasa to him, and he too taking it, went to the side of the river Nerafijara. There having bathed, he ate the food and spent the day in a sala forest. Then towards the end of the day, he went to the Bodhi tree and scattered at its foot the Kusa grass brought by Brahma. Then there appeared a great seat. He sat on it and the gods came and began to praise him. The canto closes with the mention of the appearance of Mara to overcome the Buddha. The tenth canto contains an account of the battle with Mara and his defeat by the Enlightened One. An examination of the story of the life of the Buddha as given in the Padyacudamani shows that the author, in many places, differs from the generally accepted version derived from the Buddhist literature. The story of the gods' visit to the Tusita Heaven and their requesting the Bodhisatta to be born amongst men as described in the Padyacudamani canto II is found in the Dhammapada-atthakatha, Vol. I, p.


84 and in the Jataka commentary, Vol. I, p. 48. But it is not given either in the LaHtavistara or in the Buddhacarita. It is now accepted on all hands that the Buddha was born in the Ivummini garden. An Asokan pillar with an inscription still in situ verifies this fact. But no mention of the place of birth has been made in the Padyacudamani. The general- ly accepted tradition amongst the Buddhists is that the Buddha's mother, Queen Maya, died soon after her child's birth. This fact, too, has been ignored in the work under review. The account in the sixth canto of the prince's going out for sports in the garden and seeing on the way an old man, a sick man and a dead man and his enquiry about them from the charioteers, differs from that given in the Mahapadana Sutta of the Digha Nikaya and in the Jataka.' According to the story in the Jataka commentary, the prince was driving in a chariot and when the omens appeared, he and the charioteer and none else saw them ; and he put questions to the charioteer ; but in the Padyacudamani mention has been made of more than one charioteer.

According to the Pali Canon, Rahula was born before the great retirement of Siddhartha. The Buddhacarita also mentions the birth of Rahula but the Padyacudamani is silent about it. The account of the retirement of Prince Siddhartha as given in the ninth canto of the Padyacudamani is somewhat abrupt. The prince returns after sporting in the lake in the garden and on his return there were dancing, singing, etc. But he became averse to them and reached the banks of the river Anovama.

According to the story in the Pali Canon, Siddhartha had, before his retirement, a look at his wife and Rahula ; and riding on Kanthaka accompanied by Channa, he left the palace. In the Padyactidamani (ninth canto), there is an account of his going to the city of Bimbisara but no mention has been made of his meeting with that king. Verse 54 of the same canto mentions his practising austere penances but no mention has been made of his staying with Alar a Kalama and Uddakaramaputta. Verses 59 and 60 refer to the gift of payasa but the name of Sujata has not been given.

says that the Bodhisatta received from Brahma the grass with which he prepared his seat. But the Pali Canon records that the grass was given b}" Sotthi3^a, a grass-cutter. The work is concluded with the defeat of Mara by the Buddha — an incident with which the thirteenth canto of Aswaghosa's Buddhacarita also ends. It is well-known that out of the seventeen cantos of the Buddhacarita, the first thirteen only are original and the last four were written b\^ a scribe named Amritananda. 


The above detailed examination throws some doubt on the commentator Buddhaghosa's authorship of the Pad3^a- cudamani. Buddhaghosa was well acquainted with the traditions about the life of the Sakya Sage and it is quite unlikety that he should have omitted some of the important incidents of the life of the Great Teacher. The fact that the Padyacfidamani ends exactly where the extant original portion of the Buddhacarita of Aswaghosa comes to an end, is insignificant. The Buddhacarita was translated inco Chinese in A.D. 420, i.e. very near to the time when Buddhaghosa flourished. It is very likely that Buddhaghosa saw the complete work of his illustrious predecessor^ Aswaghosa. The work under review was in all probabilit}' written b}' a man of inferior genius after the later cantos of the Buddha- carita had been lost. It might be that this work was written bj^ Buddhaghosa who came later than the great commentator of the Pali Buddhist I^iterature.

One other point requires consideration. The great com- mentator possessed, no doubt, a wide knowledge of Sanskrit literature, but there is no indication anywhere, in the accounts of his life as given in the Mahavaiiisa or the later works like the Sasanavamsa, etc., that he attempted to write anything in Sanskrit. He was devoted to the Pali literature of which he was a past master, and it is not prob- able that he would go out of his way to compose a long poetical work in Sanskrit.

Tumour's Mahavariisa and the.Mahayazawin state that during his residence in Ceylon, Buddhadhaghosa! translated into Pali', the whole of the Sinhalese commentaries on the Tripitaka originally composed by Mahinda, the reputed son of the Emperor Asoka and the Buddhist apostle of Ce3'lon. A Sinhalese compendium, on the ether hand, states that he composed the Tripitaka, meaning probably his commentaries upon it in Burma after his return from Ce^don. The Siamese legend respecting this portion of his work is somewhat confused . ' Spence Hardy mentions a commentar}' on the Buddhavaihsa by him. This is probably the Atthakatha called the Maduratthavilasini whose authorship is assigned by Grimbolt not to Buddhaghosa but to a Buddhist monk living at the mouth of the Kaveri in Southern India.'

A critical survey of Buddhaghosa' s works suggests to the inquisitive student, manv far reach- Buddhaghosa's works— a mine of his-ing qucstious of which vcrv fcw have mdeed been hitherto exammed or an- swered. His life, his social, religious and philosophical views, his reminiscences of Ceylon, his relations with Buddhadatta, his special contributions to the Buddhist thought, etc., all these can be gathered from his works. Buddhaghosa' s works reveal the development of his own mind and are explanatory of his earlier thoughts. They bear testimony to his profound knowledge and vast erudition. About the value of Buddhaghosa's works Mrs. Rhys Davids observes, It may readily be granted that Buddhaghosa must not be accepted en bloc. The distance between the constructive genius of Gotama and his apostles as compared with the succeeding ages of epigoni needs no depreciatory criticism on the labours of the exegetists to make itself felt forcibly enough. Buddhaghosa's philology is doubtless crude and he is apt to leave the cruces unexplained, concerning which an occidental is most in the dark. Nevertheless, to me his work is not only highly suggestive, but also a mine of historic interest. To put it aside is to lose the historical X-)erspective of the course of the Buddhist Philosophy" '


R. C. Childers rightly speaks of him thus: Buddha- ghosa did not confine himself to translate Mahendra, but incorporated other old Sinhalese chronicles existing in his time, and added immense contributions, chiefl}^ exegetical, of his own. Much of the matter his commentaries contain is as old as the Tripitaka itself, while, like the Tripitaka, they are rich in history and folk-lore and abound in narratives which shed a flood of light on the social and moral condition of Ancient India." A rich legac}^ has been left by him to the Buddhist Literature. Gray in his introduction to the Buddhaghosuppatti records thus: " Suvannabhumi in particular has good reason to be proud of him. Siam derived the Buddhist scriptures from her, as is clear from Talaing chronicles, and the debt of gratitude which Burma owed to Ceylon was sufficiently repaid when, after the total destruction of Buddhistic literature b the Malabars in the twelfth century, she was able to return to that sacred island a cop}^ of the ver^^ books she had borrowed seven centuries before and preserved with most zealous care." (pp. 31-32) . Gray further records, " Buddhaghosa's commen- taries as they now exist in Cejdon, were taken over from Pagan in Burma. No copy of them could have been kept by the Sinhalese priests after he first compiled them, other- wise Fa-Hien, who visited Anuradhapura after Buddha- ghosa, would most certainly have mentioned them and taken at least a cojjy of the commentary on the Vinaya."

Thanks are due to the labours of the late Professor T. W. Rhys Davids and Mrs. Rhys Davids, the founders of the Pali Text Society, Surrey and its other workers for publishing some of the important works of Buddhaghosa, namely the Visuddhimagga, portions of the Sumangala- vilasini, the Atthasalini, the Puggala Panhatti commentary, the Dhammapada commentary, the Kathavatthu commen- tary, and the Patthana commentary. We are glad to find that they have undertaken to print a few other books of the great commentator, namely, the Manorathapurani, the vSammohavinodani, the Saratthapakasini, the Samantapasa- dika and the remaining portions of the Sumahgalavilasini. These, no doubt, are and will be the permanent works of the society and from them the world will know more about Buddhism.


The Successors Of Buddhaghosa


Buddhaghosa is credited by the Mahavariisa with having written commentaries on the whole of Buddhist Tripitaka. But, as we have seen in the last chapter, though he wrote commentaries on a very large portion of all the three pitakas, yet a considerable portion remained un attempted by him. Perhaps he found his life too short for the com- pletion of the huge work to which he devoted his life, or . perhaps he found his health failing; or, if we are to believe that he did actually return to India, other causes which we cannot conjecture might have intervened be- fore he could finish the remaining books of the Holy Canon. The work thus left unfinished was taken up by others who came after him and it will be in- But completed by his tcrcsting here to give an account of successors. o & persons who, following in the footsteps of the great commentator, served to make Buddhist litera- ture easily intelligible to succeeding generations.

Among these successors of Buddhaghosa the following are noteworthy ' : —

I. Buddhadatta, the reputed author of— Uttaravinicchayo.

J.P.T.S., 1 880, pp. 59-63.


Vinayavinicchayo. Adhidhanimavatara. Madhuratthavilasini, a commentary on the Bud- dhavamsa. 2. Dhammapalacari5^o who wrote — Nettipakarana-atthakatha. Itivuttaka-atthakatha . Udafia-atthakatha. Cariyapitaka-atthakatha. Theragatha-atthakatha. Vimalavilasini, a commentary on the Vimiana-vatthu. Vimalavilasini, a commentary on the Petavatthu. Param at thamafi j Qsa . Linatthapakasini. Paramatthadipani. Linatthavannana, etc. 3. Mahanama who wrote the Saddhammapakasini, a commentary on the Patisambhidamagga. 4. Moggallana (navo), author of the Abhidhanappa-dipika. 5. Cullabuddhaghosa, author of the Jatattaginidanam and Sotattaginidanatii.


Buddhadatta, the first of these commentators, is sup- posed to have been a contemporary of Buddhadatta^" Buddhagliosa. According to the account given in the Buddhaghosuppatti, Bud- dhaghosa is said to have sailed for Ceylon after taking his preceptor's permission the very day that Buddhadatta left Ceylon for Jambudvipa. He was in the ship for three days. Through the supernatural powers of Sakka, the ships of the two theras came in contact with each other. The merchants who were on the vessel of Buddhadatta saw Buddhaghosa and were frightened. Buddhaghosa came out and seeing the merchants frightened, asked, "Who is the monk in your ship"? The merchants replied, "Buddhadatta. Buddhadatta then came out and saw the thera and asked his name. Buddhaghosa repHed, " I am Buddhaghosa." Bud- dhadatta asked, "Where are 3^ou going"? Buddhaghosa replied, "I am going to Ceylon." Buddhadatta asked, "What for"? He replied, "The teaching of the Lord is written in Ceylonese and I am going to render it into Magadhi." Buddhadatta said, " I have written J inalahkara. Dantadhatubodhivarhsa and not the atthakathas and the tikas ; if you render the teaching of the Lord into Magadhi from Sinhalese, you write out the atthakathas of the three pitakas." Thus Buddhadatta gave some task to Buddha- ghosa to perform. He also gave him m^^robalan, the iron style and a stone, and added, " If you have eye disease or pain in the back, you rub this myrobalan on the stone and apply, surely your pain will disappear."

Buddhaghosa on his part praised the J inalahkara of Buddhadatta and .said, "Your book is very deep, it is difficult for the unwise to understand it." Buddhadatta in his turn exhorted Buddha- ghosa thus, " I came to the island of Ceylon before you to write out the teaching of the Lord into Magadhi from Sin- halese. I am short-Hved, I won't live long, you perform the task." As soon as the conversation ended, the vessels became separated,' Buddhaghosa sailed for Cej^on and Buddhadatta for Jambudvipa. The known facts about Buddhadatta may be told in a few words. The thera ^ was a celebrity of the Mahavihara of Ceylon, and was an inhabitant of the Cola Kingdom situ- ated on the Kaveri. He tells us that his royal patron was King Accutavikkanta of the Kalamba dynasty.

All his works were written in the famous monastery erected by Venhudasa or Kanhadasa on the banks of the Kaveri.' The Rev. A. P. Buddhadatta has prepared an edition of his notable namesake's Abhidhammavatara, i.e. an ' intro- duction to philosophy.' Buddhaghosa expounds his psy- chology in terms of the five khandhas. Buddhadatta opens his scheme with a fourfold division of the compendium, viz. mind, mental properties, material quality and nibbana. In this respect Buddhadatta 's representation is perhaps better than that of Buddhaghosa.*

1 Buddhaghosuppatti, edited by J. Gray, pp. 49-51- The same account also occurs in the Sasanavaiiisa (edited by M. Bode), pp. 29 and 30. " Evaiii tesaiii dvinnarh theranam annamafiiiam sallapantanaih yeva dve nava sayaih eva apanetva gacchiihsu.

2 According to the Gandhavaiiisa, Buddhadatta came next to Buddhaghosa. J.r.T.S., 1886, p. 59. '^ Abhidhammavatara, P.T.S., Vifinapanam. xiii, xiv, xv, xvi, and xvii. " . . . . Vinayavinicchayo .... .... Colaratthe Bhutamaiigala-game Venhudasassa arame vasantena Accutavikkama-namassa colaraiino kale kato." " Kaveri-pattane ramme, nanaramopasobhite Karite Kanhadasena dassaniye manorame." (Abhidhammavatara. ) •' Buddhadattenaracito'yan Vinaya-Vinicchayo." (Vinaya-Vinicchaya.) •* Mrs. Rhys Davids, Buddhist Psychology (Quest Series), p. 174.


There is no reason to disbelieve the statement that the two teachers ' met each other. It is clear that they drew materials from the same source./ This fact well explains why the Visuddhimagga and the Abhidhammavatara have so many points in common. Buddhadatta has rendered great service to the study of the Abhidhamma tradition which has survived in Theravada Buddhism to the present day. The legendar}^ account is that Buddhadatta put in a condensed shape that which Buddhaghosa handed on in Pali from the Sinhalese commentaries. " But the ps3'-cho- logy and pliilosophy are presented through the prism of a second vigorous intellect, under the fresh aspects in a style often less discursive and more graphic than that of the great commentator, and with a strikingly rich vocabulary." It is also narrated in the account we have referred to above that when on sea Buddhadatta met Buddhaghosa and learnt that he was going to Ceylon to render the Sinhalese commentaries into Pali, he spoke to the latter thus, When you finish the commentaries, please send them to me, so that I may summarise your labours."

Buddhaghosa said that he would comply with his request and the narra- tive adds that the Pali commentaries were after completion actually placed in the hands of Buddhadatta who summed up the commentaries on the Abhidhamma in the Abhi- dhammavatara and those on the Vinaya in the Vinaya- vinicchaya (abridged translation of the foregoing by the editor, Buddhadatta' s Manual, p. xix). Mrs. Rhys Davids says, " It is probably right to conclude that they both were but handing on an analytical formula, which liad evolved between their own time and that of the final closing of the Abhidhamma Pitaka." '

lyike Buddhaghosa, Buddhadatta, too, employed the simile of the purblind and the lame to explain the relation between Nama and Rupa.^ Buddhadatta' s division of the terms into Samuha and Asamuha is another interesting point." It will be remembered that such a division of terms as this was far in advance of the older classification em- bodied in the Puggala Pahfiatti commentary/ Supposing that Kumar a Gupta I of the Imperial Gupta dynast}^ was a contemporary of King Mahanama of Ceylon and that Buddhaghosa was a contemporary of Thera Bud- dhadatta, it follows that King Accutavikkanta of Kalamba dynasty was a contemporary of Kumara Gupta I.

According to Rev. A. P. Buddhadatta/ Buddhadatta was either older than Buddhaghosa or of the same age with him. This statement is, however, doubtful. In the Bud- dhaghosuppatti '^ we find Buddhadatta addressed Buddha- ghosa by the epithet 'avuso.' which is applied to one who is younger in age. The passage runs thus, " Avuso Buddha- ghosa, aharii taya pubbe Ivaiikadipe Bhagavato sasanam katum agatomhi ti vatva aham appa^^uko " This shows that according to the tradition recorded in the Bud- dhaghosuppatti, Buddhaghosa was younger than Buddha- da tta. The different accounts of the comparative age of Bud- dhadatta and Buddhaghosa are hardly reconcihable. The account given in the Introduction to the Abhidhammavatara clearly shows that Buddhadatta lived to write abridgements of some of Buddhaghosa's works. This goes against the legend contained in the Buddhaghosuppatti that Buddha- datta left Ceylon earlier than Buddhaghosa without trans- lating the Ceylonese Atthakatha, apprehending that he was not to live long.

The Sasanavaiiisa records that acariya Dhammapala-thero dwelt at Padaratittha in the King- Dhammaplia." dom of Dauiila near Ceylon. It is for this reason that he should be regarded as one of the Sinhalese commentators (" vSo ca acariya- Dhammapalathero Sihaladipassa samipe Damilaratthe Pada- ratitthamhi nivasitatta Sihaladipe yeva samgahetva vat- tabbo." ') He also must have based his commentar}^ on the Sinhalese Atthakathas, as these were not preserved on the mainland, as we have seen from the accounts we have already given. T. W. Rhys Davids is of the opinion that Buddhaghosa and Dhammapala seem to have been educated at the same University. In support of this view he refers to the pub- Ushed works of the two writers, a careful study of which shows that they hold very similar views, they appeal to the same authorities, they have the same method of exegesis, they have reached the same stage in philological and ety- mological science and they have the same lack of any know- ledge of the simplest rules of the higher criticism. Tlie con- clusion follows that as far as we can at present judge, they must have been trained in the same school. (Hasting' s Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, Vol. 4, p. 701.)

Mrs. Rhys Davids says in her introduction to the trans- lation of the Theri-gatha, "in the fifth or sixth centur}^ A.D., either before or just after Buddhaghosa had flourished, and written his great commentaries on the prose works of the Vinaya and Sutta Pitakas, Dhammapala of Kaiicipura (now Conjevaram), wrote down in Pali the unwritten ex- pository material constituting the then extant three i\ttha- kathas on the Psalms and incorporated it into his commen- tary on the three other books of the Canon, naming the whole ' Paramatthadipani ' or Elucidation of the Ultimate Meaning. He not only gives the dkhydna in each Psalm, but adds a paraphrase in the Pali of his day, of the more archaic idiom in which the gdthds were compiled." ' From the commentaries of Dhammapala, it appears that he was well-read and well-informed. His explanation of terms is very clear. His commentaries throw considerable light on the social, religious, moral and philosophicar ideas of the time like the commentaries of Buddhaghosa. He was not only the author of the Paramatthadipani but also of several other works ^ such as the Petavatthuattha- katha. In short, his works remind us of the commentaries of Buddhaghosa.

Mrs. Rhys Davids says, "the presentation of verses, solemn or otherwise, in a framework of prose narrative is- essentially the historical Buddhist wa}' of imparting canoni- cal poetry. Dhammapala's chronicles are, for the most part, unduplicated in any other extant work; but not seldom they run on all fours, not only with parallel chronicles in Buddhaghosa' s commentaries, but also with the prose framework of poems in Sutta-Nipata or Samyutta Nikaya, not to mention the Jataka." We quite agree with Mrs. Rhys Davids on this point (Mrs. Rhys Davids' Psalms of the Brethren, p. xxv).

Buddhaghosa was not merely a metaphysician. His scholarship was wide and deep. His information was vast. His works abound in references to History, Geography, As- tronomy, Dancing, Music, Anatomy, Bird-life, Jugglery and so forth. He had a fair knowledge of the vegetable kingdom.

Buddhaghosa was not ignorant of astronomy. His astronomical knowledge is evidenced by Astronomy. , . , his reference to the measurement of the size of Rahu, the Dragon.' It is stated in the Visuddhimagga that Buddhaghosa was a great grammarian, and a great poet, and also was well-versed in analytical knowledge. It appears that he studied the great grammar of Panini. In the Visuddhimagga (P.T.S. Edition, pp. 491-492, ' Indriyasaccaniddeso') we read: —

"Ko pana nesarh indriyattho namati? Indalifigattho indriyattho; indadesitattho indriyattho; indaditthattho ind- riyattho ; indasitthattho indriyattho ; indajutthattho indri- yattho: so sabbo pi idha yathayogam yujjati. Bhagava hi sammasaitibuddho paramissariyabhavato indo, kusalakusalan ca kammaih, kammesu kassaci issariyabhavato. Ten'ev'ettha

kammasanjanitani tava indriyani kusalakusalakammaiii nll- ingenti. Tena ca sitthaniti indalingatthena indasitthatthena ca indriyani. Sabban'eva pan'etani Bhagavata yathabhutato pakasit.ani abhisariibuddhani ca ti indadesitatthena indadi- tthatthena ca indriyani. Ten'eva Bhagavata mnnindena kanici gocarasevanaya, kanici bhavanasevana^-^a sevitaniti indajutthatthenapi etani indriyani." Buddhaghosa goes on to add : — 'Api ca adhipaccasarikhatena issariyattliena pi etani in- driyani. Cakkhuvinnanadippavatti3^am hi cakkhadhiani siddhaiii adhipaccarh, tasmim tikkhe tikkhatta, mande mand- attati. Ayarh tav' ettha atthato vinicchayo.' These explanations of ' Indriya ' are evidentl}^ a reminis- cence of Panini, V. 2, 93. " Indriyaiii indralirigaiii indradrst- aih indrajustam indradattaiii iti va." ' In the grammar of Panini. there is mention of dpufli in the sense of prapti and in this sense too, apatti occurs several times in the Samantapasadika. This seems also to show that Buddhaghosa knew of and utilised the work of Panini.

His geographical information is not very meagre as is clear from the following : — Geography. He dehnes Dakshinapatha or the Deccan as the tract of land lying to the south of the Ganges. He records that the Godavari forms the border line between the territories of two Andhra Kings (Dvinnaiii Andhakaraja- narii), that is to say, between Assaka and Alaka. In Buddlia-

2 Sumangalavilasini, Vol. I, p. 265, •' Dakkhina patlio ti pakataiii Gaiigciya dakk- hinato pakata-janapadaiii." 3 Paramatthajotika, Sutta Nipata Commentary, II, p. 581.


ghosa's time, Assaka and Alaka were the two Andhra Kings or rather kingdoms. His personal acquaintance with the Andhra countries is evident from his detailed account of an island in the middle of the Godavari/ The Ganges on the north and the Godavari on the south are uppermost in his mxind.'^ Of the countr}^ below the Godavari, how- ever, he does not appear to have possessed much know- ledge. Of Xorthern India, especially of North-eastern India which, according to tradition, was his birth-place, Buddha- ghosa gives a little more information in his writings. In the Sumaiigalavilasini, in connection with the city of Cam.pa, the capital of Ahga, he sa}- s that not far from the cit}- , there was the tank Gaggara, so called because it was dug by a Queen named Gaggara. On its banks all around, there was a great forest of Campaka trees decorated with flowers of five colours, blue, etc. This account of Campa has, however, hardly any geographical value. He also gives us his own interpretation of the term Anga. According to him, it is so called because of the beauty of the princes of the country.* The explana- tion seems to be rather fanciful. He mentions Magadha ' Sutta-Nipata Commentary, p. 5S1.

Atthasalini (P.T.S.) p. 140. " Tato nikkhantatta pana akusalaiii pi Gangaya nikkhanta nadi Ganga viya Godavarlto nikkhanta Godavari viya ca pandaram tveva vuttam." Sumaiigalavilasini, pt. I. pp. 279-80— " Tassa Campa-nagarassa avidure Gagg- araya nama raja-mahesiya khanitatta Gaggara ti laddha-vohara pokkharani atthi. Tassa tire samantato niladi-panca-vanna-kusuma-patimanditaiii mahantaiii campaka vanarii."

  • Ibid, p. 279. " Anga nama anga-pasadikataya evam laddha-vohara janapadino raja-kuniara."


as a country of the princes known as Magadhas/ In his Sumahgalavilasini to the Mahah Sutta in the Digha Xikaya, Buddhaghosn gives us an interesting account of the Maha- vana in the neighbourhood of Vaisali and of the double- galleried vihara which stood in it. In commenting upon the word 'Mahavana', he says, "Outside the town lying in one stretch up to the Himalayas, there is a natural forest which on account of the large area covered by it, is called ' Mahavana.' " '" Buddhaghosa also offers a comment ex- plaining the origin of the name Kiitagarasala. " In that forest was established a Sahgharama or monaster}-. A pasada or a storied building was built on pillars, a pinnacle was put above it and it was made into a Kiitagarasala re- sembling a mansion of devas (devavimana). From it, all Sarigharamas or monasteries are known as Kutagarasalas." " This agrees with the description given by Fa-Hien of the double-galleried Vihara. Our commentator shows an inti- mate acquaintance witli the city of Vesali ; and about its rulers, the lyicchavis, he offers much valuable information.

He was acquainted with the opinions of the Ajivikas and the Niganthas, as appears from his observatioi is regarding their views of the ?oul after death.' He gives us bits of the Hfe-history of the teachers of the various sects mentioned in the Vinaya and the Nikayas. He speaks of Purana Kassapa as one of the teachers who went about naked. ^ Purana was his name and Kassapa was his family or gotra name. He fled to a forest where his clothes were snatched away by robbers. In his nude state, he entered a village where he was held as a holy mendicant. {Sumr>hgala- vilasini, Vol. I. p. 142.) Regardhig Pakudha Kaccayana, we are told that he did not use cold water. He used hot water or hot rice-gruel. (Sumahgalavilasini, p 144.)

As to Gosala, Buddhaghosa says that, in his opinion, things happen exactly as they are to happen, that which is not to happen does not happen. (Sumahgalavilasini, pp. 160-5.) Makkhali was the personal name of this teacher and he was called Gosala because he was born in a cow-pen. One day he was ordered to carry an oil-pot along a muddy slippery path. His master told him, "Tata, ma khaliti." But his feet slipped on account of his carelessness ; and for the fear of his master he began to flee. His master caught the end of his garment but he ran on naked leaving the garment behind. (Sumahgalavilasini, p. 144.)

With regard to Ajitakesakambalin, Buddhaghosa says that Ajita was his proper name. His nickname was Kesa- kambalin (hair-blanket) because he used to wear a blanket made of human hair. This blanket, according to Buddha- ghosa, is the worst of all garments, being cold in winter and warm in summer and it is the cheapest and it is rough and ugly and emits a bad smell. (Sumahgalavilasini, p. 144). Buddhaghosa tells us that after a Hall had been estab- lished in Queen Mallika's park at Savatthi, others near it were built in honour of the various famous teachers but the group of buildings continued to be known as "the Hall." There the Brahmins, the Niganthas, the Acelakas, the Paribbajakas and other teachers met and expounded or dis- cussed their views.'

Buddhaghosa records in his Sumahgalavilasini (pp. 138- 139) an account of Uevadatta who requested the Buddha to give him the leadership of the Bhikkhusariigha but was re- fused. Again he came to the Buddha with the request to introduce some hard and fast monastic rules enacting that Bhikkhus must not take fish and flesh, thev must put on three robes only and they must live under the open sky, al- ways hving on ahns^ etc., but the Buddha did not comply wdth his request. This dissatisfied him and he got together some followers and made a Saiiigha separate from the Bhik- khusamgha of the Buddha. This Samgha of Devadatta flourished for some time. Shortly afterwards Devadatta lost his prestige. He succeeded in persuading Ajatasatru to become his follower, by showing him a miracle. It was he who induced Ajatasatru to torture his father Bimbisara to death and to become the King of Magadha. He himself made several attempts to kill the Buddha, but in vain. At last he wanted to see the Buddha but he was swallowed up by the earth by the side of a pond at Jetavana.

Buddhaghosa further supplies us with important and interesting information regarding the Account of Indian Mallas, the Sakvas, the Koliyas, the Licchavis and so forth. He says that the Mallas were Ksatriyas ' forming an oligarch}^ of rajas.^ Regarding the Sakyas, he says that the great clan of Gotama's relations consisted of eighty thousand families on the father's side and the like number on the mother's side.' This number has, we think, hardly any historical value : it is evidently used to signify a very large number. In the Sumafigalavilasini, we have an account of the origin of the Sakyas and their matrimonial alliances with the Koliyas.* It is recorded that the Sakyas did not show respect to the Brahmins.^ The Pasadika Suttanta of the Digha Xika^^a informs us that the Exalted One was once sojourning among the Sakyas at the technical college in the Mango-grove of the vSakya family. From the above, it is obvious that the Sakyas had a technical college of their own. Buddhaghosa supplies us with the information that it was a long terraced mansion made for the learning of crafts.

Regarding the Licchavis, also, the great commentator furnishes us with some interesting particulars. In his Paramatthajotika on the Khuddakapatha, he splits the name ' Licchavi ' into ' Ivina-chavi ' =Licchavi=]Siicchavi. He says that things in their stomach appeared to be attached to their ' chavi ' or ' skin/ and hence they were called lyicchavis.' According to him, there was a festival among the Licchavis called Sabbarattivara or Sabbarat- ticara. In it, songs were sung, trumpets, drums and other musical instruments were used and flags were flown. Kings, princes and commanders-in-chief took part in the festival and spent the whole night in merry-making.' The women were not wholly excluded from convivial gatherings. It is stated in the Dhammapadatthakatha that the Lic- chavis used to go to gardens with the beauties of the town ' (nagarasobhini) .

In the Sumahgalavilasini/ we- read that there was a port near the Ganges and a mountain not far from it, and that at the foot of the mountain there was a mine of precious gems. Some precious gems were washed away by the Ganges, and there was a contract between the Licchavis and King Ajatasatru of Magadha that they would divide the gems equally. But the avaricious Licchavis did not fulfil the agreement. This enraged Ajatasatru very much. He thought of punishing them for this act. He

1 P.T.S.,p. 159, " Sibbetva thapita viya iiesaiii annamanuaiii lina chavi nhosi." 2 Dhammapada-atthakatha, Vol. Ill, p. 460. •^ P.T.S . Vol. Ill, pp. 279-280. + Suiuangalavilasini, (Burmese edition, Simon Hewavitarne's Bequest Series, No I. Revised by Nanissara, p. 99.)


realized, however, that the Licchavis being numerical^ stronger, he would fail to carr}^ out his purpose. He tried to be friendty with the Licchavis, but he had to give up this idea. At last he resorted to the device of sowing dissen- sions and he was successful. Through his machinations the unity of the Licchavis was almost broken, with the re- sult that the poor among the Licchavis began to hate the rich, and the strong looked down upon the weak. At that psychological moment, Aiatasatru took advantage of the internal dissensions amongst the Licchavis and invaded the Vajjian territory. The weaker Licchavis refused to stand against him and said, "Let the strong Licchavis go for- ward and crush him." Thus it was easy for Ajatasatru to conquer Vesall, the capital of the Vajjians.

Buddhaghosa also gives other interesting particulars about the Licchavis. If a Licchavi fell ill, the other Licchavis came to see hira. Chastit}^ was not to be violated by force The old religious rites were observed. The whole clan would join any auspicious ceremony performed in the house of a Licchavi. When a foreign king paid a visit to the Licchavi country, the Licchavis went out in a bod}^ to receive him and to do him honour. They sent out armies at the approach of foreign invaders. With regard to the financial administration of the Licchavis, Buddha- ghosa tells us that they were' averse to the nnposition of new taxes. Old taxes were kept up. The Vajjians used to learn Rajaniti or the science of state-craft from their, old experienced countrymen. They used to hold frequent meet- ings at which matters relating to various parts of the

country were heard and discussed. By beat of drum the meeting was announced and every one tried to attend and the work being done, they all dispersed at the same time.' Besides political matters, subjects of general interest, such as questions of religion, were discussed at these meetings of the Licchavis.

It is stated in the Sumahgalavilasini that Siha, a novice, saw a large assembty of the Licchavis and thought thus^ "Surely the Blessed One will most gladly preach Dhamma in this assembly." ^ In the Samantapasadika, Buddhaghosa states that this assembly was like the assembly of the Tava- timsa devas.'

In his Sumangalavilasini, the commentator records a saying of Mahah, a Licchavi : "I am a Ksatriya, so is the Buddha; if his knowledge increases and he becomes all- knowing, why should it not happen to me." * In the same work, we have a picture of the administration of justice • among the I^icchavis. When a thief is caught, he is brought before the judge who can acquit him if he thinks him not guilty, but if he thinks him guilty, he cannot inflict punish- ment upon him, but he can send him to the Vohavika who, if he thinks punishment necessary, sends him to the Anto- kariko who, in his turn, can send him to the Senapati ; if he is convinced of his guilt, he can send him to the Uparaja who, again, if he thinks him -guilty, sends him to the Raja ; the Raja, as the highest court of appeal, could inflict punishment upon him according to the Pavenipotthaka, i.e. Book of Precedents.' Buddhaghosa gives us a history of Bimbisara, king of Magadha. According to him, the king called 'Seniya', as he was associated with a large army. He was called Bimbisara, because his body was like gold ('Bimbi' means golden). He further records that Ajatasatru, son of Bimbisara, was the issue of Vaidehi,^ the daughter of the king of Kosala.' The Papancasudani * names Maharaja Mahakosala as a king of Kosala. Bimbisara was the contemporary king of Magadha, The king of Kosala gave his own daughter, Vai-


1 Poranam Vajjidhammanti-ettha pubbe kira Vajjirajauo ayarii ' coro ' ti anetva dassite, ganhatha tarn coran ti avatva vinicchayamaharaattanam denti. Te pi vinic- chinitva sace acoro hoti, vissajjenti, sace coro hoti, attano kinci avatva Voharikanaiii denti, tepi vinicchinitva acoro ce vissajjenti, coro ce Suttadhara (different reading, , Antokarika-Burmese manuscript) nama honti, tesam denti; te pi vinicchinitva acoro ce vissajjenti, coro ce Atthakulikanam denti, te pi tath'eva katva Senapatissa, Sena pati Uparajassa, Uparaja Ranfio, raja vinicchinitva acoro ce vissajjenti; sace pana- coro hoti, " Pavenipotthakaih" vacapeti, tattha " yena idaiii nama katam, tassa ayarii nama dando ti likhitarn " raja tassa kiriyam tena samanetva tadanucchavikarii dandam karotiti eva poranam Vajjidhammaiii. Sumangalavilasini edited by Dham- makitti Siri Devamitta Mahathera, Vol. I, p. 356. (Simon Hewavitarne Bequest Series, Colombo.) 2 Dialogues of the Buddha, Pt. I, p. 65.

Rhys Davids in his Buddhist India, p. 3, speaks of Ajatasatru as the son of Bimbisara by a Videha lady from Mithila. But Buddhaghosa in his Sumangal- avilasini, pt. I, p. 139, distinctly says that he was the son of the daughter of the king of Kosala and not of the king of Videha. The princess was called Vaidehi because of her scholarship ( Vedehi — putto ti ayarh Kosalaraiino dhitaya putto, na Videha-rafmo. Vedehiti pana pauditadhivacanaiii etarii " ). MSS. of this work kindly lent to me by Revd. A. Dhammapala.

dehi, in marriage to Bimbisara. After the death of Maha- kosala, Pasenadi ascended the throne of Kosala. Savatthi was his capital. When the Buddha went to Rajagaha, Bim- bisara with his family became his follower.

In his commentary on the Majjhima-Nikaya, Buddha- ghosa gives the following detailed account of king Pasenadi who was the ruler of Kosala at the time the Buddha preached his religion. Buddhaghosa must have derived his information from the Atthakathas or other authentic records, so here may be some bits of genuine historical information.

The fame of the Buddha spread far and wide and it reached Pasenadi who was envious of the great teacher. At first he sided with the heretics against the Buddha. It was at his instigation that some heretics spread a false report. The\'- showed the dead body of a beautiful girl, and said that Gotama, in order to hide his sins, concealed the dead body under a heap of dried flowers near the Gandhakuti, but the fraud was soon detected and the Buddha's fame in- creased greatly. Pasenadi and the Buddha were of the same age. He loved the Brahmins very much and gave them large tracts of land. In order to put a stop to the misdeeds of the heretics, the Buddha sent Sariputta to king Pasenadi who at first refused to see him. Afterwards he became a convert and did inmiense service to the Buddhist Saihgha. The female members of his famil}^ were engaged in doing .service to the Buddha. His own wife MalHka devoted her.self to the Hfe- long service of the True Law. The Kosalan monarch's faith in the Buddha became so strong that he sought the aid of the Buddha in great and small affairs/

Mahakosala had given a large village' to meet the ex- penses of Vaidehi. Pasenadi being dissatisfied with Ajata- satru, son of Vaidehi^ because he had ascended the throne of Magadha after killing his father, took that village from him by force and a great war ensued between uncle and nephew. Pasenadi was repeatedly defeated but he at last defeated Ajatasatru and took him prisoner. During the reign of Pasenadi, Kosala was ver}' much troubled b}^ Angulimala, the great bandit. Many people left the count r}^ The king went out with five hundred cavalries to capture the robber. He first went to Jetavana Vihara to see the Buddha once. The Blessed One saw the army and asked wh}^ the king had come with such a force. He added that he alone would bring the robber round. At that time Angulimala was with the Buddha and the latter introduced him thus, " O, Maharaja, this is Angulimala." On hearing this, the king was terrified.

Pasenadi used to visit the Buddha often and listened to religious instructions. In the Sam3^utta Nikaya, we have a chapter called ' Kosala-Saihyutta,' especially devoted to the religious discourse between Pasenadi and the Buddha. In his commentar}^ on this topic Buddhaghosa recounts the following narrative : Pasenadi first met the Buddha at Jetavana. He asked the Teacher why he should be called Sanimasaihbuddha when Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala and Nigantha Nathaputta who were older in age, were alive. The Blessed One satisfied the king by saying that one should not neglect a Ksatriya, Uraga, Aghi and Arahat, although the}^ were younger in age. " Is there any being on earth who is not subject to old age or death ? " — was the question put by the Kosalan king to the Buddha who gave a suitable answer.

There was a discussion between Pasenadi and the Buddha regarding soul. .'One loves the soul too much' — this was the topic of discussion. Even after Pasenadi's initiation, he did not disregard other sadhus and hermits, e.g. the Jatilas, the Niganthas, the Acelakas or naked ascetics, Ekasatakas and the Parib- bajakas. He once asked the Buddha, " w^ho is the fore- most among the Arahats"? The Buddha replied, "You are a householder, you find delight in sensual pleasures. It will not be possible for you to understand this question." Thereupon Pasenadi said to the Eord, " Your speech is excellent. You are right."'

The Buddha spoke to the Kosalan king about the utility of wealth. It is stated in the Sumarigalavilasini that Pasenadi of Kosala gave plenty of land to the brahmin Pokkharasati, a learned vedic teacher of Ukkatthanagara, in the kingdom of Kosala. He lived there in ease and comfort (p. 246).

According to the Papaiicasudani, Buddhaghosa's com- mentary on the Majjhima Nikaya, a merchant named Sudatta was the chief banker of Sravasti. He went to the house of his sister at Rajagaha and Ustened to the teachings of the Buddha. Pie desired to bring the Buddha to his native city and to serve him to his satisfaction. Unfor- tunatety there was no fit place for the Buddha at Sravasti and he determined to build a monastery in the city. This Sudatta was Anathapindika.

Buddhaghosa also speaks of Visakha, the wealthiest woman devotee of the Buddha. She built for the Buddha a monastery called Pubbarama. He says that she was the daughter of a banker of a cit}^ named Bhaddiya in the country of Ahga and was the daughter-in-law of a banker at Sravasti.

Buddhaghosa often mixes up fact and fable without exercising any discrimination. In his Dhammapada-attha- katha. Vol. I, part II, he records that there lived at Ko- sambi a king named Parantapa. One da}" he sat under the sun with his pregnant wife who was covered with a red blanket. At that time a bird named Hatthilihga taking her to be a lump of flesh, came to her and took her away with its claws. These birds had the strength of five elephants. The queen thought that before it would eat her , she would cry out and it* would leave her. It was in the habit of look- ing back on the track, the queen cried and the bird left her. At that ti-ne rain poured heavily and continued throughout the night. Early in the morning, when the sun rose, a son was born to her. A hermit came to the spot where the son was born and saw the queen on the Xigrodha tree which was not far from his hermitage. When the queen introduced herself as a Ksatriyani, the hermit brought down the baby from the tree. The queen came to the hermitage of the sage who accompanied her with her infant son, The queen succeeded in tempting him to take her as his spouse and they Hved as husband and wife. One day the hermit looked at the stars and saw the star of Parantapa disfigured. He informed her of the death of Parantapa of Kosambi. The queen cried and told him, "He is my husband, I am his queen. If m}^ son had lived there, he would have become the king." The hermit assured her that he would help her son to win the kingdom. Her son eventually became king and was known as Udayana. The new king married Sama- vati, a daughter of a treasurer of Kosambi. Buddhaghosa also records the account of the elopement of Vasavadatta with Udayana, as we find it in the Svapnavasavadatta by Bhasa. Udayana had another wife named Magandiya, the daughter of a brahmin in the kingdom of the Kurus. (Udena Vatthu, p. 161 foil.) According to the Dhammapada-atthakatha, Anathapindika built a vihara known as Jetavana Vihara for the Buddha at the expense of 54 kotis of kahapana (Catupannasa koti- dhanahi vissajjetva, D.P. commentary, P.T.S., Vol. I, pp. 4-5). The great banker first saw the Buddha at Rajagaha in the house of his sister.- He was much pleased with the Teacher whom he invited to go to Savatthi. He built the Jetavana Vihara for the Master's residence. The site of the monastery was bought from Prince Jeta and the Buddha stayed there for nineteen years. It was the first vihara built for the Buddha. In the house of Anathapindika, ahns were offered daily to two thousand Bhikkhus. Graduallj^ he be- came poor. A girl of Anathapindika' s famih^ went to the kingdom of Satavahana and there she offered alms to a Bhikkhu with the rice collected from khala. A mahathcra informed king Satavahana of it and eventuall}^ the girl was made the chief queen of the monarch. (Dliammapada- atthakatha, Burmese edition, p. 333.) In his commentary on the Dhammapada, Buddhaghosa narrated a story in which the master- "rTjSLumfra'!buildcr of a palace saved his life by fly- ing through the air. It relates that Bodhirajakumara had a palace built by an engineer, which was unique at that time. The engineer was asked whether he had built a similar palace before. Bodhirajakumara thought that if the engineer lived, he would build a similar palace and in that case, his building would lose its charm. He decided that he should be killed or his hands and feet be cut off. The engineer came to know of this and in order to save himself, went to the top floor of the building and when he was asked whether he had finished his work, he requested the prince to supply him with some light dry wood. With this he prepaiied a garuda-bird, sufficient for the accommo- dation of his wife and children. Prince Bodhi guarded the palace in order that the engineer might not go out. When the latter had finished making the bird, he sat within its body with his wife and children, and escaped flying through the window of the palace. (Dhammapada Commentary, V"ol. Ill, p. 134 foil., Bodhirajakumaravatthu.)


Buddhaghosa well appreciates the beauty of bird-life and the effect of the sweet songs of birds Faiiha and Flora. on the human mind. He saA^s when a bird sings a flute-like song after pecking at honey and mangoes, the song throws a sort of Orpheus spell over every one that hears it.' He is, however, ready to give credence to fabulous stories of birds. In the Dhammapada-atthakatha, he makes mention of a bird called Hatthilihga which is described as an animal possessing the strength of five elephants. It was in the habit of looking back on the track it had already trodden. (Vol. I, Part II, Udena \'atthu.) His knowledge of the vegetable kingdom is evidenced by his mention of the five classes into which it is divided.'

Incidentally while explaining terms or expressions in the text, he gives us some glimpses into 'cie'nt manners.^"' social life in ancicut India. Thus he speaks of the tricks performed by jug- glers and says that three varieties of them were recog- nised.^ He had some knowledge of music, etc., as is clear from his explanations of vetalam and of pekkham which occur in the Brahmajala Sutta. The word, pekkhaiii. is explained by Buddhaghosa as natasamajja, that is, theatrical performances, pekkharii being equivalent to Sanskrit preksa. He knew something about dancing and the decorations of scenic requirements for a dalice. He knew something about acrobatic feats as is apparent from his explanation of turn- ing over a trapeze.*


We may also here refer to certain passages in which Buddhaghosa shows his knowledge of yToT Ce3don. Mention is made of a thera named Mahanaga of Kalavallimandapa and of the bhikkhus who took their abode in the vihara at Colombotittha, who with minds bent upon Kammatthana, walking on foot near the village and taking palmful of water, looking on the roads where quarrelsome and wicked persons, mad elephants, restive horses, etc., were to be found, used to go along their path.^ Buddhaghosa refers to the story that Thera Mahanaga while going out after finish- ing his alms-begging in the village of Nakulanagara, saw a theri and requested her to take rice.' A reference is made to Abhaya Thera in the AtthasaHni, who was very hospi- table to those who could recite the Digha Nikaya in the Cetiyapabbata. The stor}^ is told of the articles of hospi- tality having been stolen by thieves. The Atthasalini also mentions a thera named Pihgalabuddharakkhita of Amba- ri3^a Vihara who used to preach the Buddhist precepts.'

' Saratthapakasini (rass.), pp. 132-133. " Evarii Kalavalli mandapavasi Mahana- gathero viya-Kalamba (Galamba) tittha vihare vassiipagata-bhikkhu viya ca Kam- matthana3'utteneva cittena padarii uddharanto gamasamipaiii gantva udakagandusarii katva vithiyo sallakkhetva yatthasura-sondadhuttadayo kalahakaraka candahatthi assadayo va n'atthi tarn vithim patipajjati." ^ Atthasalini (P.T.S.), p. 399. ". . . .Mah^nagatthero Nakulanagaragame pindaya caritva nikkhamanto theriih disva bhattena apucchi." •"^Atthasalini, p. 399. " Uppannalabhathavarakaraue Dighabhanaka Abhayat- therassa hatthato patisaiitharaiii labhitva Cetiyapabbate corehi bhandakassa avilut- tabhave vatthuih kathetabbaiii." ■* Ibid., p. 103, " Ambariyaviharavasi-Pihgalabuddharakkhitattherassa santike sikkhapadani gahetva "

reference is made to a sinless thera living at Cittalapabbata, who had as his attendant an old recluse. One day while the attendant was walking behind the thera with alms-bowl and robes, he spoke to the thera thus, "Venerable Sir, how are the Ariyas " ? The answer was that the Ariyas were a people very difhcult to be known. ' Mention is also made of Cakkana Upasaka of the island of Ceylon.^ In the Saratthapakasini, it is stated that in the island of Ceylon, in the rest-houses of different villages, there was no seat where a Bhikkhu taking his gruel did not obtain Arahatship." Buddhaghosa further refers to the town of Icchafigala near which a temporary residence of stone was built, where the king of righteousness dwelt as long as he lived.* In the Saratthapakasini by Buddhaghosa, it is stated that one day in the court-yard of Mahacetiya of Ivahka, young bhikkhus were engaged in getting their les- .sons by heart, behind them 3^oung bhikkhunis were listening to the repetition, one of the bhikkhus having extended his hands that touched a bhikkhuni became a householder or layman." Buddhaghosa in his Atthasalini, a commentary

1 Atthasalini, p. 350, " Cittalapabbatavasike kira khinasavattherassa upatthako buddhapabbajito ekadivasaiii therena saddhim pindayacaritva therassa pattacivaraiii gahetva pitthito agacchanto theraiii pucchi : ' Bhanle ariya nama kidisa ti ? dujjana avuso ariya." '■2 Ibid., p. 103. " . . , . Sihaladipe Cakkana-upasakassa viya." 3 Saratthapakasini, p. 131. ^ Cf. also the Chapter XXVI which deals with the consecration of Maricavatti Vihara as described in the Mahavaihsa. " Icchanahgala-vanasande Silakkhanda vararii bandhitva saraadhikontaiii ussapetva sabbafiiiiitaiianasaram parivattayainauo dhammaraja yathabhirucitena viharena viharati." f> Saratthapakasini, p. 137. Mahacetiyaiigana appears to bo the court-yard of


on the Dhamraasafigani, refers to Penaihbafigana, a town in Ceylon, where there is a perpetual flow of charity, etc' The Visuddhimagga, the monumental work of Bud- dhaghosa, abounds in references to Ceylon. Mention is made of Thera Maha Tissa of the Cetiyapabbata who was in the habit of coming from Cetiyapabbata to Anuradhapura for alms.'^ Two members of a family are mentioned in the Visuddhimagga as coming out of Anuradhapura and gradually obtaining ordination at Thuparama.'^ A thera named Naga of Karaliyagiri gave a discourse on dhatukatha to the bhik- khus.* A reference is made to a thera named Culabhaya who was versed in the three pitakas, and learnt the Attha- katha.^ The Visuddhimagga mentions Anuradhapura several times.

Buddhaghosa had a fair knowledge of anatomy, as is apparent from his account of the ^"edgrtflnatomr" thirty-two parts of the body, recorded in his Visuddhimagga.^ According to Mahacetiya of Anuradhapur in Ceylon. It occurs in many places in the Mahavamsa. For its description see Parker's" Ruined cities of Ceylon." " Atthepanasatipisappaya sappayaiii pariganetva sappaya parigganhanam sappaya sampajafifiam tatrayaiii nayo : Mahacetiyanganekiradaharabhikkhu sajjhayariiganlianti. Tesaiia pitthipasse dahara bhikkhuniyo dhammaiii suvanti. Tatreko daharo hatthampasarento kayasamsaggaiii patva teneva karanena gihijato." I Atthasalini, P.T.S., p. 399. i Visuddhimagga, Vol. I., p. 20, " Ce,tiyapabbatavasi Maha Tissattheroviya . . . theraiii Cetiyapabbata Anuradhapurarii pindacaratthaya •^ Ibid., Vol. I, p. 90. + Ibid.. Vol I, p. 96. 6 Ibid., Vol. I, p. 96. 'i Ibid., Vol. I, p. 72. T Vol. I (P.T.S.), pp. 249-265. See also Visuddhimagga, Vol I, pp. 353-3'33- Cf. Paramatthajotika on the Khuddakapatha, Vol. I., pp. 41 68 ; cf. Sammohavino- dani (Sinhalese edition), pp. 49-63.


him, the human bod}^ is composed of 32 things which he named as impurities, viz : kesa, loma, nakha, danta, taca, mamsa, naharu, atthi, atthiminjaiii, vakkarii^ hadayarii, yakanam, kilomakam, pihakam, papphasam, antam, antagu- nam, udariyaiii, karisam, matthahuigam, pittarii, seniham, pubbo, lohitarii, sedo, medo, assu, vasa, kelo, singhanika, lasika and muttarh. We are told that Kesa is hair which is black and which grows on the head. It has been described as an impurity in colour, in form and in smell. We are further told that a person naturally dislikes a pot of nicely-cooked rice or rice- gruel if he sees anything like a hair in it.

Loma means hair of the body. Naturally it is of mixed colour, a combination of black and reddish- yellow. It grows on the skin of the whole body except the head where hairs grow. Nakha are the nails of the twenty fingers. They are white in colour, in shape they are like maccha-sakalika (fish- scales). Danta (teeth) are naturally thirty-two in number for those who have got a full set of them, but occasionally there are exceptions. The four middle teeth of the lower gum are like the seed of a gourd sown on a ball of soft clay in a row, one after the other. On each side of the four middle teeth, there are two that have one root and one top and in size they resemble the buds of the Mallika flower. On both sides of these two teeth again, there are two which have two roots and two tops and in shape they resemble the support of a cart. Next, on each side of the above two, there are two pairs of teeth having three roots and three tops and on both sides of the two pairs of teeth, there are two other pairs having four roots and four tops.

Taca means skin of the bod3^ It covers the whole body. The colour of the skin is called Chavi. If the skin of the body be so contracted as to form one lump, it will resemble the stone of a plum. The taca is white in colour. Its whiteness is seen when it is burst open by the heat of the fire. In shape, it is like that of the body. The skin of the toes is in shape like a scabbard. The skin of the upper part of the feet is like a wooden slipper covered with skin. The skin of the knee is like a rice-plate or palm-leaf. The skin of the thigh is like a bag full of rice. The skin of the hind parts resembles a bag of a water-man, full of water. The skin of the back is like a wooden board covered with skin.

Mamsa means flesh and is composed of nine hundred lumps. All the lumps of flesh are red like the Kimsuka flower. The flesh of the knee is like a rice-plate or palm- leaf. The flesh of the hinder parts is like the top of a furnace. The flesh of the back is like a lump of jaggery. The side-flesh is like a mud-plaster over the belly of an idol. The flesh of the breast resembles a covered lump of clay. The flesh of the arms is like the flesh of two big mice.

Naharii denotes the muscles which are nine hundred in niimber. All the muscles are white in colour, and are of various shapes. There are twenty big muscles, five on the left, five on the right, five on the back and five in the front, which come down from the top of the neck and spread all over the body. There are ten muscles in each hand, five in the front and five at the back. So also in the case of the feet. There are sixty big muscles in the whole body and they are known as supporters of the body. There are smaller muscles which resemble thread-ropes. There are still smaller muscles which are Hke the putilata (cocculus cordif olius) . There are still smaller muscles which are like the strings of big lutes. The smallest muscles are like thick threads. The muscles of the diiferent parts of the body have different shapes.

Atthi means bone. Besides the thirty- two bones of the teeth, there are three hundred bones in the human body including sixty-four bones of the hands, sixty-two of the feet, sixty-four short bones mixed with flesh, two bones of the palms of the hands, four bones of the heels, two leg bones, two knee bones, two thigh bones, two waist bones, eighteen back bones, twenty-four side bones, fourteen chest bones, one bone of the heart, two eye bones, two bones of the kottha, two bones of the arms, four bones of the fore- arms, seven bones of the neck, two bones of the jaw, one of the nose, two collar bones, two ear bones, one bone of the forehead, one bone of the top of the head, one bone of the head and nine bones of the skull. The different shapes of the bones are described and we are told that the bones of the head rest upon the bones of the neck which are supported by the bones of the back which again are sustained by the bones of the waist which on their part, rest upon the bones of the thighs, which again are supported by the bones of the knee, which again lean upon the l:)ones of the heels wliicli again rest on the bones of the feet and so on.

Atthiniinjd — It means marrow of three hundred bones. Its colour is white. The shape of the marrow is like that of the bone in which it lies. Vakkam — It is a pair of lumps of flesh combined in one stalk. Its colour is slightly red. Its form is like that of two mangoes joined together in one stalk. It remains all round the flesh of the heart. The two lumps of flesh are connected together by the big nerve coming down from the neck : the big nerve has been divided into two parts.

Hadavam — It means flesh of the heart (hadaya-maihsa). It is red in colour like the back of a lotus-leaf. Its shape is like that of a lotus-leaf turned upside down. Its outward appearance is polished but its inward appearance is like that of the kosataki fruit. The heart of a wise man is open and the heart of the fool is not open. Inside the heart there is a hole as big as a nut, which contains a half-handful of blood. Mind and mind-consciousness depend upon that blood which is red in case of passionate beings and black in case of hot- tempered persons, in case of fools it is like the water used for washing meat, in case of persons given to much disputation, its colour is like that of kulatta pea soup ; in case of per- sons having faith, its colour is like that of the kanikara flower ; in case of persons who are wise, it is clear and free from impurities. The heart is situated between the two breasts.

Yakanam — It consists of a pair of lumps of flesh. It is red in colour like that of the back of the leaf of the lyily. In shape it appears like the leaves of kovilara. The fools have got one big liver. The wise have got two or three small livers. It stands between the two breasts, close to the right one. Kilomako— It is of two kinds, covered and uncovered flesh. Both of them are white in colour like pieces of white cloth. The covered one is on the upper part of the body, the other exists both in the upper and lower parts of the body. The covered one covers hadayath and vakkarii and the uncovered one extends all over the body just below the skin encircling the flesh. Pihakam — It is the tongue of the stomach. It is blue in colour like niggundi flower. Its size is seven inches. It exists on the left side of the heart, close to the topmost part of the flesh of the stomach. If it comes out of its place due to beating, the creature dies.

Papphasam — It is the flesh of the lungs divided into thirty-two pieces ; in colour it is like a fig which is very ripe. In shape it is like a cake which is not properly cut. The interior of it is dry and it exists between the two breasts^ hanging over the heart and liver and covering them. Antam — It means the intestine. The size of a male's intestine is thirty-two cubits in length. It remains coiled in twenty-one places. In colour, it is as white as white pebbles. Its shape is like that of a headless snake coiled in a pot of blood. It stretches from the neck to the excretal passage (kasiramagga). Antagunam— It means the small intestines. They spring up from the place where the larger intestines remain coiled up. They are as white as roots washed in water. In shape they are like the root.

Udaviyam — It means the things accumulated in the stomach by eating, drinking, fasting and so forth. In colour udariyam is like the colour of food which has gone into the stomach. In shape it is like loosely tied up rice in a water strainer. It remains inside the stomach which is like the bubble in the middle of a wet cloth when twisted by both hands. Outwardly the stomach is very smooth. Its inside is rough like a soiled pavaraka flower. There are thirty-two kinds of germs in the stomach such as ganduppadaka, takko- ttaka, etc. If these germs do not get food, they jump up and bite the heart-flesh. They move about in the stomach. They are as ugly as the earth-worms moving about in the rotten rubbish heaps when wetted by rain-water. The food which is put into the stomach is utilised in five ways, one portion of it is eaten up by the germs, one portion is burnt by the fire of the stomach, one portion turns into urine, one portion turns into excreta and the remaining portion is re- duced to juice which produces flesh and blood. Karisam — It means excrement. In colour it is like that of the food put into the stomach. Its shape is like that of its place of origin.

Matthalungam — It means marrows inside the skull of the head, white in colour, and they are like a lump of mushrooms or like bad milk which is not properly changed into curd. The shape of the marrows is like that of the skull of the head. They are like four balls of cakes sewn together. Pittam — There are two kinds of pitta (bile), one is bad- dhapitta (closed bile) and the other is avaddhapitta (open bile). In colour, the former one is like that of thick oil or honey, the colour of the latter is like that of an old akuli flower. The shape of both of them is like that of the pot in which the^^ remain. The baddhapitta is in the upper part of the body and the avaddhapitta remains in both the upper and the lower parts. The avaddhapitta exists like a drop of oil in water in all parts of the body except the fleshless portions of kesa, loma, danta, nakha and dry hard skin. If the avaddhapitta be in excess, the eyes become yellow and they roll, the body shakes and feels an aching sensation. The baddhapitta exists in a bag of bile, which is like the cover of mahakosataki and which lies between the heart and the lungs, just by the side of the liver. If this be in excess, the beings become mad, the mind loses its sobriety and the beings lost to all sense of shame, do what they should not do, say what they should not say, and thiak what they should not think.

Semham — ^It means phlegm. There is a bowl-full of phlegm in the human body. It is white in colour and its shape is like that of the pot in which it lies. It grows in the upper part of the body and it remains inside the stomach. When food goes into the stomach, some portion of the phlegm becomes displaced but it again comes back to its former position. Pnhbo — It means pus, and consists of rotten blood. Its colour is like that of an old leaf. Its shape is like that of the pot in which it is contained. It appears in all the parts of the body. It has no definite place of origin. It appears in boils which arise owing to accumulation of blood in the parts of the body, which are hurt or burnt.

Lohita — It means blood. There are two kinds of blood, sannicitalohita (accumulated blood) and samsaranalohita (running blood). The colour of the former is like the colour of the ver}^ thick juice of lac and the colour of the latter is like that of the clear juice of lac. The}' take the shape of the vessel in which they are contained. The accumulated blood can be found in the upper part of the body, and the other, in both the parts. Samsaranalohita passes through the veins all over the body except the fieshless portion of kesa, loma, danta, nakha and dry hard skin, and the sannicitalohita is below the liver, and bowl-full in quantit}'. It wets the heart, the kidne}^ and the lungs, and if it does not do so, creatures become thirsty.

Sedo — It means the water which comes out of the pores of the skin. Its colour is like that of clear sesamum oil and it grows in both the parts of the bod3^ It has no definite place of origin. Medo — It means thick oil. Its colour is like that of powdered turmeric. Its shape is like that of a yellow rag placed in the midst of flesh and skin of a fat being and in case of a lean person, its shape is like that of a double or triple yellow rag placed close to the flesh of the knee, thigh and collar bone, and flesh of the belly. It grows in the upper and lower parts of the body.

Assu — It means water coming out of the eyes. Its colour is like that of clear sesamum oil. Its shape is like that of the vessel in which it is contained and it exists in the upper part of the body. It remains in the sockets of the eyes. It does not always remain there. When beings become delighted at heart, and laugh and also when they weep and cry, when they take unsuitable food, and when their eyes are hurt by dust, smoke, etc., then the eyes be- come full of tears which trickle down.

Vasa — It means thin oil. Its colour is like that of cocoanut oil. Its shape is like that of a drop of oil in water. It exists in the upper and lower parts of the body and it is found chiefly in the palms and backs of the hands, in the lower parts of the feet, in the nostrils, on forehead and shoulders, when heated by the rays of the sun or by fire, etc.

Kelo — It means saliva. It is white like foam. Its shape is like that of the place in which it is found. It remains in the upper part of the body. It remains on the tongue by the side of both the cheeks. Singhanika — It means the mucus of the brain. Its col- our is like that of the marrow of a young palm. Its shape is like that of the vessel in which it is contained. It fully occupies the nose-holes. It does not always remain in the nose-holes but when creatures cry or when by unsuitable food or climate, the elements of the body are agitated, then the rotten brain comes out through the holes of the palate and accumulates there.

Lasika — It means the slippery dirt inside the joints of the body. Its colour is like that of the kanikara flower. Its shape is like that of the place in which it exists. It remains in the upper and lowerparts of the body. It occurs in the eighty joints of the body and oils them. If this be small in quantity, a person loses his activity and feels tired after walking one or two yojanas. But one becomes active and does not get tired after walking if this element be large in quantity.

Muttam — It means urine. Its colour is like that of the water in which bean is washed. Its shape is like that of water inside a jar which is turned upside down. It remains in the lower part of the body and in the bladder. Although there appears to be no entrance to the bladder, yet it enters into it, and the path by which it comes out of the bladder, is wide.

The Philosophy Of Buddhaghosa


The accounts of the hfe of Buddhaghosa before he adopt- ed the Buddhist faith, depict him as a The early philosophical training of Bud- peisou Well vcrscd ill the Brahmaiiical lore, and following the usage of his time, wandering about in the country as a sophist. No doubt he studied philosophical treatises but his philosophic genius remained latent till it was roused by the forceful argu- ments of the Thera Revata who is said to have defeated him in a philosophical discussion, with the result that he became a pupil of that great sage. With the thera, it is said, he studied the Pali Tripitaka, which roused in him a burning desire to know the religion of the Buddha, which eventually made him a devoted student of Buddhist Philos- ophy.

A tradition tells us that he was an adherent of the system of Patafijali and it seems to be thelchZV^lZ^Jilu. substantiated by his own words in the commentaries. Buddhaghosa is strong, throughout his works, in his attacks on Pakativada, i. e. the Sahkhya and the Yoga systems which believe in the dual principles of Purusa and Prakriti. He shows an extravagant zeal for differentiating the Buddhist conception of Avijja from the Prakrit ivadin's conception of Prakriti as the root cause of things,' and the Buddhist conception of Namarupa from the outsider's conception of Purusa and Prakriti. He hetrays nevertheless his previous predilection for the San- khya and the Yoga systems. His conception of Namarupa is very much like the Safikhya conception of Purusa and Prakriti. He uses the very simile of the blind and the lame by which the two conceptions are illustrated.^ It might be argued that Buddhaghosa based his conception on the authority of the earlier Buddhist thinkers, notably Nagasena and Asvaghosa.* But who can deny that the Buddhist thinkers, too, were greatly influenced by the Safikhya line of thinking? Indeed, taking into consideration all available evidence we cannot but agree with M. Oltramare in maintain- ing that the Buddhist conception of Namarupa was from a certain date steadily tending towards the Safikhya concep- tion of Purusa and Prakriti. It would be travelling too far from our immediate object to institute an enquirj^ into the relationship between the Buddhist Philosophy and the mode of self-realization on the one hand, and the Yoga system on the other. Accepting as a working hypothesis that the rela- tionship is in many respects close, it requires no effort of the imagination to realize how Buddhaghosa easily passed from the old to the new.


I " Kasma pan'ettha avijja adito vutta ? Kiih, pakativadinaiii pakati viya, avij- ja pi akaranaiii mulakaranaiii lokassati " ? Visuddhimagga, Vol. II, p. 525. i Ct. the passage quoted in Vyasa's commentary on Voga vSutra, III, 44. i Paramatthajotika, II, Vol. I, p. 169. " Athava sante na kurute iti sante na sevati ti attho, yatha ' rajanaiii sevati ' ti etasmim atthe ' rajanaiii pakurute ' ti saddavidii mantenti." It is an application of the rule of Panini, I, 3-32.

The Brahmanic spirit and the Vedantic ideas imbibed and acquired b}^ him in his boyhood ^"""sIlddhrghoTa' ^" ceased to influence him in his 'youth when he came to be interested in Bud- dhism. He entertained so high an esteem for the Buddha that commenting on the Digha Xikaya, he explains the Great One as Maha Brahma.' The effect of the Buddhistic influence on Buddhaghosa showed itself in his philosophical treatise which he called Nanoda3"a or the ' Awakening of In- tellect.' But at the time Buddhaghosa flourished, "the philosophical culture of Buddhist India was expressing it- self in Sanskrit. In the literature of that culture there is ample testimony, in such works as survive, to reveal develop- ments in logic and in metaphysic." ' The patient work of many centuries left behind by India's introspective geniuses is a mine of knowledge, yet to be explored. In this field Buddhist thinkers have laboured with acumen and patient diligence.' "The more we advance in Central Asiatic re- search," wrote the late Prof. R. Pischel, "the clearer it appears that, for a great portion of the Orient, Buddhism was not less a vehicle of culture than Christianity has been for the Occident." "While Buddhism," he goes on to say, "as a religion gains (by that researcli) ever in value, as a philosojDhy it sinks ever deeper."* The whole of Buddhist Philosophy along with Buddhist religion rests on a psychological basis.' Yet more marked is the psychological advance met with in the works of Buddha- ghosa.' He expounds his psychology in t(?rms of the five aggregate division.'^ Here the five aggregates are — material qualities, feeling, sense-perception, complexes of conscious- ness or co-efhcients, and, fifthly consciousness itself.* We shall try first of all to give in brief an idea of the psychological concepts of the Buddha.

According to Buddhaghosa, the meaning of the word ' citta ' is that which cognises external objects. Its characteristic is recognition. It is presupposed by every sense-conception. Whatever one sees through his eyes, hears through his ears, smells through his nose, tastes through his tongue, touches through his body and cognises through his mind — all these he recog- nises by his citta. ^ Mind by itself is connected with empti- ness and absence of a living entity. After sense -perception, it recognises the objects and receives them and manifests the state of such reception. In the absence of mind there is no visual or other cognition.'* Citta and Cetasika are described as ' the shell and the contents of a sphere.' ^ Mrs. Rhys Davids explains the term Citta as consciousness (mind, ' heart/ inteUigence).' " Cittam iti pi mano iti pi vifinanam." On the above passage Mrs. Rhys Davids remarks thus, " In com- menting, centuries later, on this passage, Buddhaghosa, the greatest of the scholastics, calls all three a name for the manayatana or sphere of cognition. Elsewhere the first two of the three terms are used as practically coincident, but this is the only passage known to me where all three are so represented." "^ We quite agree with Mrs. Rhys Davids on .this point. She tells us further that the meaning of these three terms is practically the same. '^

According to Spence Hardy, it is by the action of the mind upon the power of reflection that thought is produced. The principal faculty connected with cetana is the mind.* Citta is arammanam cintetiti cittam. We agree with Mr. S. Z. Aung when he speaks of the word cinteti thus : It is "used in its most comprehensive sense of vijanati (to know). Mind is, then, ordinarily defined as that which is conscious of an object. This is called the kattusadhana definition, or definition by which an agency is attributed to the thing denoted by the term."

It is to be noted that citta and vinnana convey the same meaning. Vinnana simply conveys the idea of the ' totality of consciousness.' It also means thought, mind.' In the opinion of lycdi Sadaw, " Mind, mental factors, material quality, nibbana are just such abstruse, subtle, recondite matters. For the untrained, who are without training of mind and understanding, and who are unable to suspend even for a moment the notion of 'person,' 'being,' 'self (soul), 'living thing/ the real nature of these pheno- mena are beyond the average range of their ken. But these matters are within the range of the intelligence which knows by way of intuition. For those whose knowledge has been abundantly trained in the doctrines of the intuitively wise Ariyan philosophers, even their inferential knowledge may be said to partake of the nature of intuitive know- ledge, since it invariably leads to the latter kind." Sadaw further remarks that "the}^ whose knowledge has not penetrated the fact of the arising and ceasing of the material qualities, are blind to that arising and ceasing ; they only see a continuous and a static condition in those phenomena. They consider their own mind as a permanent something. They conceive the selfsame mind moving about here and there within the body. The selfsame mind in the morning, the selfsame mind at noon, and at eventide the selfsame mind . , . .what the} neither know nor see is conditioned genesis of mind (citto)." ' We know that finally mind is a source of consciousness or as Sadaw puts it "representative consciousness.' According to Buddhaghosa, ' Phassa ' means contact. ' Its characteristic is touching, its funcan external object, its effect is to bring together. The object which comes in its way causes ' Phassa.' It is form- less. It exists by sticking to some object. The relation between Phassa and its object is the relation between eye and form, ear and somid, mind and object of thought.^ One of the Safikharas is Phassa. Mrs. Rhys Davids says, " Phassa (contact) is generalised to include all receptive expe- rience, sensory as well as ideational, and to represent the essential antecedent and condition of all feeling phusmana). This awareness of the objective presentation is termed contact (phassa)." ^ According to Buddhaghosa, Vedanakkhandha means whatever has the characteristic of being relt ; it ccmsists or three classes accord- ing to origin — kusala, akusala and avyakata though these are of the same nature on account of their being felt. According to its nature, Vedana is of five kinds, viz. sukharii, dukkham, somanassam, domanassam and upekkha.'- Vedana is also divided into six kinds, viz. cakkhusarii- passaja sotaghanajivhakayamanosampassaja-V^edana. As these six Vedanas are connected with the eighty-nine cittas, they are said to be divided into eighty-nine. 'Phassa' (contact) is the cause of Vedana.

In eight different ways, Phassa becomes the cause of the first five kinds of Vedana. The eight ways are sahajata (which comes into existence together with it), afifiamahna (mutual), nissaya (support), vipaka (consequence), ahara (nutriment), sampajutta (connected), atthi (existence) and avigata (that which is not gone). Phassa alone is the cause of the remaining ones. Vedana is also the cause of tanha (desire).' Spence Hardy * says that Vedana or sensation is of six kinds. It is produced by communication with that which is agreeable (kusala), disagreeable (akusala) and avyakata (indif- ferent). He is of opinion that joy arises when an agreeable thing or object is seen. There is "aversion" when a dis- agreeable object or thing is seen and there is indifference when an object is seen which is neither agreeable nor dis- agreeable.

Vedana, according to Ledi Sadaw, is feehng. He puts it thus, " Given the contact, an act of disagreeable feeling is manifested : this is feeling " (vedana).' According to Mr. S. Z. Aung, " Vedana includes such emotions as joy and grief. It covers all kinds of feeling, physical and mental. Vedana is either kayika or manasika. Under the aspect of feeling, Vedana is either pleasure or pain or neither pain nor pleasure." * Viniianakkhandha means all things which have the characteristic of knowing. Vinnana, Vinnanakkhandha citta and mano convey the same meaning. According to its characteristic, it is of one kind, and according to its origin, it is of three kinds, viz. kusala, akusala and avyakata. Various kinds of kusala, akusala and avyakata have been discussed ; kusala is divided into kamavacarakusala, rupavacarakusala, arupavacarakusala and lokuttara. Akusala is principally divided into three according to its origin from lobha, dosa and moha, and avya- kata is divided into two classes, viz. vipaka, and kiriya. Lokuttara is divided into four according to four maggas, and it is again divided into four according to four phalas. A detailed account of the divisions and sub-divisions of terms connected with Viniianakkhandha has been noted in the Visuddhimagga. '

According to R. C. Childers, Vihfiana is one of the khandhas. It means intelligence^ knowledge, conscious- ness, thought and mind. He further tells us that " ViMana as the thinking part of the individual is the most important of the five khandhas, and if any one khandha can be said to constitute the individual it is this. In Buddha's words, by the destruction of Mind, the whole being perishes."^ Under Vififiana or consciousness we have (i) Cakkhu- vififiana or eye consciousness, (2) Sotavihfiana or ear con- sciousness, (3) Ghanavinfiana or nose consciousness, (4) Jivha- vifinana or tongue consciousness, (5) Kayavifihana or body consciousness, (6) Manovifiriana or mind consciousness.

According to Ledi Sadaw, Viniiana or consciousness is " the specific awareness of the material quality (rupa) called heat. " There is also, through that material quality, a touching, an impressing, a colliding with the sensitive skin " (kaj'-a) .'

According to Mr. S. Z. Aung, " consciousness may be tentatively defined as the relation between arammanika and arammana." The object of consciousness is, in his opinion, either object of sense or object of thought. The former sub- divides itself into five classes and the latter consists of five sub-classes of which citta is one.*

Sannakkhandha is of three kinds — kusala, akusala and avyakata. Sahfia cannot exist without Vifiiiana. Hence we find the same kinds of Saiiha as Vihhana. The difference lies in the fact that Safiiia is only perception of external appearance of an object while Vihhana means thorough knowledge of the thing.' According to Mrs. Rhys Davids, "Sanha is not limited to sense-perception, but includes perceiving of all kinds. Our own term ' perception ' is similarlj?- elastic." In editing the second book of the Abhidhamma Pitaka, Mrs. Rhys Davids " found a classification distinguishing between Sanha as cognitive assimilation on occasion of sense, and Sahha as cognitive assimilation of ideas by way of naming. The for- mer is called perception of resistance, or opposition (patigha- sahna). This, writes Buddhaghosa, is perception on occasion of sight, hearing, etc., when consciousness is aware of the impact of impressions ; of external things as different, we might say. The latter is called perception of the equivalent word, or name (adhivacanasanha) and is exercised b}^ the sensus communis (mano)." ^ Spence Hardy says, " Sahnakkhandha or perceptions are six in number. When an object is seen, whether it be green or red, there is the perception that it is of that particular colour. So also when any sound is heard, whether it be from the drum or any other instrument, there is the per- ception that it is such a sound ; \vhen there is any smell, whether it be agreeable or disagreeable, there is the percep- tion that it is such a smell "

According to Childers,^ Sanfia means perception. Safi- nakkhandha is the third khandha.

It is subdivided into six :

1. Cakkhusampassajjasaiiiia. 2. Sotasampassajjasanna. 3. Ghanasampassajjasaiina. 4. Jivhasampassajjasahfia. 5. Kayasampassajjasanna. 6. Manosampassajjasahha.

According to Mr. S. Z. Aung, the term perception must be understood in the widest significance of the term, somewhat after the manner of Descartes, Malebranche, lyocke, Leibnitz and others, before its limitation by Reid. Safina, in Buddhist psychology, means the awareness of the marks, real or imaginary, by which an object either of sense or thought is or may hereafter be recognised." ' Thirty-six kinds of Sankhara arise from Kamavacara-pathamakusala and the same number arises from Kamavacaradutiyakusala. The same number without amoha, arises from Kamavacara- tatiyakusala and so on. Seventeen kinds of Sankhara arise from pathamaakusala. The same number with Sankhara arises from dutiyaakusala and the same number without mic- chaditthi arises from the third and so on. (Visuddhimagga, Vol. II, pp. 462-472.)

A word is necessary to bring out the significance of the term ' Sankhara.' It means aggregation. The essential characteristic of a Sankhara is 'cetayita/ being work of mind. According to Dr. S. N. Das Gupta, "It is called Sankhara because it synthesises the conglomerated (Sankhatarh abhi- sankharonti). It is thus a synthetic function which synthe- sises the passive rupa, saiifia, sankhara and vifihana ele- ments." (A History of Indian Philo.sophy, by Surendra Nath Das Gupta, M.A., Ph.D., p. 96.)

Abhisarikhara is used as a synonym of Sankhara as Childers points out in his Pali Dictionary. Sanldiara- khandha has good many points in common with those of Paticcasamuppada. "Both are referred 'to mind; on the one hand, the Sahkharas of the Paticcasamuppada are said to be good and bad cetanas, on the other hand, those of the khandha are said to be mental conditions." (R. C. Childers, Pali Dictionary, p. 455.) It has been interpreted as matter, karma, etc. "In some cases, sentient beings are included under the term saiikhara, in others the terms satta and sankhara are distinctly opposed." "The fourth khandha known as sahkharak- khandha," says Childers, "has a somewhat different mean- ing. Here the aggregations are certain properties and faculties of the sentient being, fifty-two in number." '


According to Mr. S. Z. Aung, Saiikharakkliandha means ' the group of volitions and other associated factors.' ^ Sarikhara is that which is determined, conditioned and acted upon. Sankhara is sjmonymous with Karma and is chiefl}^ appHed to Cetana but is extended secondarily to the properties concomitant with the Cetana.^ Kern says, '^' Sankharas are affections, temporar}^' men- tal or moral dispositions, having their motive in Vedana." "The aggregation of the five khandhas constitute the pud- gala (puggala)."^' It is stated in the Visuddhimagga, Chapter XIV, that under the Sahkharakkhandha, we have fift^^-one Sankharas,, viz : —


There are five khandhasRupakkhandha, Vedanak- kliandha, Safifiakkhandha, Sankharak- Khandha. khandha, and Viniianakhandha. Rupakkhandha is sub-divided into : — A. Bhutarupa which includes — Pathavidhatu, Apod hatu, Tejodhatu, and Vayodhatu. B. Upadarupa which includes — Cakkhu, Sota, Ghana, Jivha, Kaya, Rupa, Sadda, Gandha, Rasa, Itthindriya, Purisindriya, Jivitindriya, Hadayavatthu, Kayaviniiatti, Vacivinnatti, x\kasadhatu, Rupassalahuta, Rupassamuduta, Rupassakammaiifiata, Rupassaupaca3^a, Rup- assasantati, Rupassajarata, Rupassaaniccata, Kabalifikara ahara. Rupakkhandha is of five kinds. For a detailed account of these kinds of Rupakkhanda, see H. C. Warren's Table of Contents of Buddhaghosa's Visuddhimagga (J.P.T.vS., 1891-3), pp. 124-5.


Buddha as a psychologist was quite content with the definition of Kamma as voUtion. Bud- dhaghosa framed a definition accord- ingly.' C'Cetana ' harh, bhikkhave, karnmaih vadami.") It appears from his explanation that an action is no action until the will is manifested in conduct, which goes to prove that his point of view is juristic or practical. Kamma means consciousness of good and bad, merit and demerit (kammaiii nama kusalakusala cetana).^ Kamma is of four kinds, dit- thadhammavedani^^arh, i.e. Kamma which produces result in this life ; Upapaccavedaniyam, i.e. Kamma which pro- duces result in the next life; Aparapariyayavedaniyaiii, i.e. Karma which produces result from time to time ; ' Ahosi Kamma, i.e. past JCamma.

We have another fourfold division of Kamma: —

1. Garukam, i.e. an act be it good or bad which has a serious result.

2. Bahularh, i.e. excess of either virtue or vice which produces its respective results.

3. Asannarii, i.e. karma which is thought of at the time of death.

4. The Katatta-Kammaih, i.e. an act which has been frequently done b}^ one (in his life-time) and which in the absence of the three previous kammas, causes re-birth. We have still another classification of Kamma : —

1. Janaka.

2. Upattharhbhako.

3. Upapilaka.

4. Upaghatako.

These twelve kinds of acts and their consequences are manifested in their true aspect in the Buddha's knowledge of the consequences of Kammas. These are not common k) pupils ; those who are endowed with spiritual insight come to know some of Kammantara and Vipakantara (Visuddhi- magga, Vol. II, p. 602). Kamma produces consequence, retribution is born of action, action is the cause of re-birth, in this way the world continues. There is no originator of Kamma, no sufferer of consequences, only phenomena con- tinue (Kammassa karako natthi Visuddhiraagga, Vol. II, p. 602). Kamma has its own individualit}^, has its own kinsman. It has its origin, has its friend. One will have to share the fruits of his Kamma be they good or bad (Visud- dhimagga. Vol. II, p. 601). No action passes from the past life to the present nor from the present to the future (Visud- dhimagga. Vol. II, p. 603).

Regarding the relation between kamma and vipaka, Buddhaghosa says that there is no kamma in vipaka and no vipaka in kamma. Each of them b3'- itself is void, at the same time there is no vipaka without kamma. Just as there is no fire in the sun nor in the lense nor in the (dried) cow-dung and likewise fire is not outside them but comes into existence on account of these requisites, in the same way vipaka is not seen within the kamma nor it is outside the kamma. A kamma is void of its vipaka which comes through kamma. Vipaka comes into origin on ac- count of kamma (Visuddhimagga, Vol. II, p. 603).

In the past, the khandhas, which originated as the conse- quences of action (volition), ceased. In this existence, other khandhas arise out of the consequences of past deeds, there is no condition which has come to this existence from the past, in this existence the khandhas which are originated on account of the consequences of kamma, are destroyed. In another existence, others will be produced from this ex- istence, not a single condition will follow re-birth (Visuddhi- magga, Vol. II, p. 603).

According to the Atthasalini, kamma is of three kinds, kayakamma, vacikamma and manokamma. It is cetana and the states associated with it (p. 8S). Childers in his Pali Dictionary says, "All three originate in cetana or the will." He further points out that kamma under the name of sahkhara is one of the links of Paticcasamuppada (p. 176).

Buddhaghosa divides kamma into : —

1. Kammasamuttanarh. 2. Kammapaccayarii. 3. Kammapaccayacittasamutthanam. 4. Kammapaccaya-aharasamutthanaiii. 5. Kammapaccaya-utu-samutthanam.

It is stated in the Kathavatthupakarana-atthakatha that there is a relationship between citta and kamma. If mind be distracted, no kamma can be performed. (" Yada cittaiii bhajjamanaiii hoti tada kammam bhajjamanaih hoti- ti attho." ') I^edi Sadaw in his paper on the Philosophy of Relations (pubHshed in the J.P.T.S., 1915-16, p. 42), says, " Karma is ultimately reduced to the psychological

factor of volition. And volition is the unique determina- tion of will. Will-exercise is power over its co-existent mental properties and physical qualities. In fact, all our activities in deed, word, or thought are due to its influence. But here we are not concerned with the aspect of will in its relation to effects in after-Hfe." Childers says that as a religious technical term, the doctrine of kamma or the efficac}^ of good and bad works, is inseparably bound up with that of transmigration or renewed existence.' Undoubtedly kamma is one of the links of the Paticcasamuppada. Old karma is destroyed and no new karma is produced (" khmam puranam navarh n'atthi sam- bhavam"). " Kammana vattati loko, kammana vattati paja," the world exists through kamma and the people live through kamma.

"Puretum ajutthena kayaduccaritadi avindiyam nama, aladdhabban ti attho. Taiii avindivaiii Avijja (Ignorance).

vindatiti avijja." According to Buddha- ghosa, avijja means obtaining of that which is not to be obtained, namely, bodily sin, etc. Birth is due to continued existence, continued existence is due to attachment, attachment is produced by desire, desire is due to sen.sation, sensation is produced by contact, contact is due to the six sense-organs, the six sense-organs are due to namarupa, nama 'and rupa are due to conscious- ness, consciousness is due to sahkhara which is produced by ignorance.^ Avijja is the root of existence in this world and it includes death, old age^ etc. It is the cause of all sankharas in the sensual existence, the cause of arupasankharas in the formless existence. Sankharas owed their existence in the past and will owe their existence in future to Avijja/ Avijja is one of the Asavas, of the Oghas, of the Yogas, etc. (Child- ers' Pali Dictionar}^, p. 73). Avijja means absence of knowledge of the four truths or of the eight matters as we find in the Abhidhamma. We quote the following passage from the Abhidhamma : — " Katama avijja ? Dukkhe aniianam . . . . pe dukkhaniro- dhagaminiya patipadaya aiihanam, pubbante aiinanam, apa- rante pubbaparante, idappaccaj^ata paticcasamuppannesu dhammesu aiihanam." Mrs. Rhys Davids translates ayatana as sphere' but Childers in his Pali Dictionary, trans- Ayatana.

lates it as organ of sense and object of sense.* The twelve ayatanas have been enumerated in the Visuddhimagga,* namely, cakkhu, rupa, sota, sadda, ghana gandha, jivha, rasa, kaya, phottabba, mana and dhamma. It is stated in the Visuddhimagga that the five sense organs (namety, eye, ear, nose, tongue, and skin) along with the mind make up the sala^^atanas. Phassa is due to the six ayatanas. Buddhaghosa sa5^s ^ that the sense-organs are due to kamma and it is kamma which differentiates them. Their differentiation is not due to different elements according to the Vaisesika philosophy, are the constituents of the sense-organs. According to the Buddhists, the individual has no real existence. It is only a sammuti. Buddhaghosa accepts this view. He sa^^s that on the existence of khandhas such as rupa, etc., there is the usage ' evamnania,' 'evamgotta.' Because of this usage, common consent and name, there is the Puggala.'

Ndmarupa. — Buddhaghosa is of the opinion that the three khandhas, Vedana, Safiiia and Safikharas are the namaiii because they bend towards the object. Rupa, ac- cording to him, is the aggregate of and the outcome of the four mahabhtitas. (V^isuddhimagga, Vol. II, p. 558). Nama- rupa is one kind because of its being the support of con- sciousness and because of its being the cause of kamma. It is of two kinds as it is with or without any object. It is of three kinds according as it is past, present or future. It is of four or five kinds according to the course it takes for re- births in different stages of existence.^ In the section on Rupakkhandha, Buddhaghosa has divided Rupa into two, namely, Bhutarupa and Upadarupa. By Bhutarupa, the four great elements are implied and Upadarupa, according to him, is of twenty-four kinds.

"Name has a two-fold aspect — to wit, (i) name as deter- mined by convention or usage and (2) name in its ultimate meaning, (i) In saying ' person ' we give a name not to the aggregates (of a living organism) but to our idea correspond- ing to the form or appearance presented by those aggregates- And this idea or concept of an appearance does not exist objective^ (independently of mind). Hence in this ' name' neither the meaning nor the name itself has an}^ real exist- ence. Yet the great majority perceive and imagine, when the3^ recognise the name that there actualh^ is what is named self or soul or entity or person. And for this reason we term name 'conventional' when it is merely determined as a designation by popular usage. But when not resting upon mere customar}' usage, people consider those ultimates, the aggregates, as self, soul, entity, person, then they exceed the scope of customar}' usage."

(2) "In name, under its ultimate aspect vi^e are consider- ing ultimate phenomena which are entirely without external appearance, and which are onl}^ modes and changes and phases of process. There is no 'life' (or 'living soul,' jivo) apart from what we call the two powers or faculties of material and psychical life (Dve nania rupajivitindriyani)." "Now a 'living soul' is generally perceived and ordinarily reckoned as 'some one living a week, a month, a year,' etc.; the essence of the living appearance is commonh^ considered to be the .self ; the essence of its continuitj^ is considered to be the ' living soul.' But the two powers or faculties of life referred to above are but the vital (coefficients) of momentary phenomena onty^ not of a personal entity." According to the conventional truth, "a person exists," "self exists," whereas according to the ultimate truth, " neither does a person exist nor a self, there are only pheno- mena." According to the former, " it is not untruthful to sav that there is a personal entity"; whereas according to the latter, "to say ' there is no personal entity ' is neither un- truthful nor mere opinion." (Ledi Sadaw, 'Some points in Buddhist Doctrine,' J.P.T.S., 1913-14, pp. 124-129.)

It was Buddhaghosa who developed and perfected the Buddhist system of thought. Accord- Buddhaghosa's contribution to Buddhist ing to somc, Buddhism whicli now prevails in Ceylon is virtually the religion as interpreted by Buddhaghosa. The explanation of the sacred texts, literary and philosophical, which has prevailed since his time, is really the explanation of Buddhaghosa and his school.

In the Tripitaka itself we do indeed find many of the concepts that Buddhaghosa deals with, but it is in the works of this great commentator that these concepts acquire defi- niteness and become clear and intelhgible. It is probable that in his interpretation of philosophical ideas, as in his exegesis of the other parts of the Buddhist sacred Htcrature, Buddhaghosa received substantial help from the accumu- lated thoughts and ideas of many centuries as contained in the great iVtthakathas wherefrom he derived his materials'. It is difficult, nay impossible, to find out with any exactitude, what was his personal contribution to the ancient stock of knowledge, but whatever that may have been, we have to be grateful to Thera Buddhaghosa whose labours have simplified much of what was complex and rendered intel- ligible what was abstruse and vague.


Buddhaghosa's Interpretation Of Buddhism


In his interpretation of Buddhism, Buddhaghosa, as an orthodox Buddhist, closely follows the 1>"ySdhaghosT^ Tripitakas and the Sinhalese comment- aries. The onty authority outside the canonical literature quoted by him besides the commentaries of his predecessors, is the Milinda Pafiho. Here and there he indulges in metaphysical and philological speculations to support his interpretation of the doctrines. In his meta- physical and psychological speculations, he has in some places improved upon the old ideas, and his philosoph}^, though sometimes fanciful, is generally correct. He always believed in miracles and never doubted their possibility. We give below his ideas about some important points of Buddhism.

All the authorities on Buddhism assign a vey high place to sila which, according to them, is the foundation of all good qualities. Sila means "habit" or "good. conduct." According to the quotation cited by Buddhaghosa from the Patisariibhida- magga, it is divided into four parts, Cetana silarii, Cetasika silaih, Samvara silaih and Avitikkamo silam. The thought of a person who abstains from killing, etc., is called Cetana Sila. vSamvara Silam is of five kinds, viz. Patimokkhasa- liivara, vSatisaiiivara, Nanasariivara, Khantisamvara and Viriyasamvara. Sila is described as that which pacifies the mind or prevents fickleness of mind . Its function is to destroy evil deeds. The effect of its observance is to bring about the purity of body, mind and speech. It is of three kinds, Hina, Majjhima and Panita, and there are sub-divisions of these three. When the precepts are not properly observed, the sila is said to become impure. The Visuddhimagga con- tains a description of the evil effects of the violation of sila. This description consists of quotations by Buddhaghosa from various authorities.^ It is interesting to note that in the Atthasalini, sila is used in the same sense as in the Visud- dhimagga. Sila is broadly divided into two, carittasila (duties of performance) and varittasila (duties of avoidance).

It in- cludes the following : — 1. To abstain from taking life ; 2. Not to take what is not given ; 3. Sexual purity ; 4. To abstain from false, abusive, slanderous or idle speech ;

5. To abstain from intoxicating drink. "Habitual morality is compared to the broad earth, on which, as their fulcrum or basis, all creatures move, stand or rest; and again, sila is compared to the sources of the reat rivers and the ocean, starting as rill and burn way up in the mountains, and ministering to an increasing scale of animal growth as they descend and wax deep and wide, till merged in the ocean. "^


The word, ' Indriya ' is applied ordinarily to the five sense-organs but the Buddhists take it Indriya. .

It means not only the sense-organs but also the moral potentialities, principles, functions, etc. Buddhagbosa defines ' indriya ' as " sa assad- dhiyassa abhibhavanato adhipatiyatthena indriyam adhimok- khalakkhane va indattham karetiti indriyam." ^ (As the in- driya controls that which is not to be believed and as it implies the exercise of lordship, therefore, it is called in- driya or by the characteristic of determination, it is called indriya because it causes to perform the purpose of inda.) In the Visuddhimagga, p. 491, Buddhaghosa takes the word inda in the sense of the Buddha. {" Bhagava hi sammasarii- buddho paramissariyabhavato indo.")

Buddhaghosa' mentions the following twenty-two in- driyas : — Cakkhundriya or organ of the eye. Sotindriya or organ of the ear. Ghanindri3?'a or organ of smell. Jivhindriya or organ of the tongue . Kayindriya or organ of the body. Manindriya or organ of the mind. Itthindriya or female-organ. Purisindriya or male-organ. Jivitindri3^a or vital force. Sukhindriya or principle of happiness. Dukkhindriya or principle of suffering.


buddhaghosa's interpretation of buddhism i6i 12. Somanassindri3'a or principle of delight. 13. Domaiiassindriya or principle of sorrow. 14. Upekkindriya or principle of indifference. 15. Saddhindriya or principle of faith. 16. Viriyindriya or principle of energy. 17. Satindriya or principle of recollection. 18. vSarnadhindriya or principle of meditation. 19. Panhindriya or principle of wisdom. 20. Ananhatanhassamitindri3^a or principle of know- ing the unknown. 21. Anhindriya or principle of knowledge. 22. Afinatavindriya or " sense of having thoroughly known."


" Indriya literally means 'a controlling principle or force.' The indriyas are the exercisers, the performers of lordship called sovereignty over this and that function The five (sense-organs), eye, etc., are lords of sight, etc., in the functions of seeing, etc." " Cakkhundriyarii is not Cakkussaindriyarii, the 'power of the eye ' but cakkhuili eva indriyarii, ' the eye which is a power.' The term has been rendered 'faculty of sight.' But we are not here speaking of the sense of sight, but of the eye itself, as exercising a certain control over the senses of sight.'"

1. Khuddika. 2. Khanika. 3. Okkantika. 4. Ubbega. 5. Pharana.

Of these Khuddika Piti is explained by Buddhaghosa to be that slight sense of interest which causes only the hairs of the body to stand on their ends ; Khanika Piti appears like momentary flashes of hghtning ; Okkantika Piti is a deeper emotion that overfloods the body like waves sweeping over the sea-beach. Ubbega Piti is very strong and it causes the body to go up into the sky ; Pharana Piti pervades the whole body like a great flood filling up a mountain cavern. (Atthasalini, pp. 11 5-1 17.)

"There was, of course, at first a dull or slight sense of interest (Khuddaka Piti) growing keener and keener through oscillating interest (Okkantika Piti) into an intense interest am^ounting to thrilhng emotion (Ubbega Piti) followed finally by interest amounting to rapture (Pharana Piti). This dif- fused rapture is invariably followed by pleasurable, easeful, happy feehng (sukha) by which distraction and worry (ud- ihacca-kukkucca) are inhibited.'" " Piti has as its invariable concomitant somanassa, with which joy fits well enough, since the Pali term means pleasure (sukha) plus excitement. But Piti abstracted means interest of varying degrees of in- tensity, in an object felt as desirable or as calculated to bring happiness (Piti is not hedonic but intel- lectual, having reference to an object in consciousness )

Piti must not be misunderstood to mean a complex pheno- menon. Even when present in the sublimated form of a boj- jhariga or wisdom factor, it is still a factor or element, a simple element in a complex." ' It will be interesting to quote the following remarks of Mrs. Rhys Davids, " if piti be not bare feeling, it is unmistakably emotion. ' Emotional ' is, has to be, used as the adjective of feeling. And Piti is classed, not with feeling (vedanakkhandha), but among the co-efficients of consciousness called sarikharas or chetasikas. It is not simply pleasurable feeling (sukha). But neither is emotion to be so defined. Emotion is feeling accompanying an idea, the being ' moved ' with a co- efficient of representative con- sciousness. The canonical description of Piti allies it with terms of gladness, mirth and enthusiasm. Buddhaghosa gives, as its essential features, the being pleased, expansion and elation. He also gives us the five grades of Piti : the thrill of eagerness, the momentary flash, the flood of enthu- siasm, as waves breaking over us, ecstasy or transport, and rapture. And ail the instances given refer to an idea or group of ideas as the proximate cause. Hence whereas no one word need suffice, ' joy ' as the more exultant, uplifted form of interest or zest is by no means always a mistransla- tion." Buddhaghosa gives the following derivation of the word 'Upekkha': Upapattito ikkhati, i.e. ^^ ^* looks at from the very origination. He further says that the word implies ' looking equally and look- ing without being partial.' Upekkha (indifference) is of ten kinds (dasavidha) : —

I. Chalariga (six senses).

Brahmavihara. Bojjhanga (factor of wisdom). Viriya (energy). Sarikhara (aggregate). Vedana (sensation). Vipassana (insight). Tatramajjhatta (balance of mind). Jhana (meditation). Parisuddhi (purification).'

The Abhidhammatthasarigaha mentions " three principal kinds of upekkha. First^ the anubhavana upekkha (U of sensation or physical sensibilit}^) : the neutral feeling or zero point between bodily pain and pleasure (kayika-dukkha- sukha). This kind of upekkha is applicable to all sensory stimuli, except those of touch. The second kind is the indri- 3^appabhedaupekkha or upekkha dividing the (ethicalty) regulative forces of somanassa or joy and domanassa or grief (or of mental pleasure and pain)."

" Of these two kinds of upekkha, the former is sensa- tional, the latter is emotional, and both are hedonic."

" Lastty there is a third class of upekkha, and that is a cetasika, of the nineteen sobhana-cetasika ; in other words, a mental property or element, of the nineteen ' moralh" beautiful ' properties.'"


Buddhaghosa describes samadhi as ' kusalacitte ekaggata' or concentration of good thou2:ht.

It is called samadhi because at the samadhi, all the thoughts are simultaneously and rightly centred on a particular object. Its characteristic is absence of distraction, its essence is the destruction of distraction, its immediate cause is firmness and its remote cause is happiness. Samadhi has been variously divided according to its predominant characteristics. Regarding the purity and impurity of samadhi, Buddhaghosa says that the condi- tion which leads to its excellence, causes its purity while that which causes deterioration, brings about its impurit}^ Re- garding the question of the practice of samadhi, Buddha- ghosa says that there are two ways of practising it, lokiya and lokuttara. The practice of lokuttara-samadhi is but the culture of wisdom. The practice of lokiya-samadhi consists in purifying one's conduct, establishing oneself in the purified conduct, destroying the ten obstacles, adopting the practice of one of the forty Kammatthanas favourable to his mode of living, avoiding living in a manner unsuitable to the prac- tice of meditation, destroying the minor impediments and applying oneself to the full observance of meditation. The advantages of practising meditation are the five kinds of happy living such as happy living in this world, insight, knowledge, re-birtii in higher regions, and cessation.' The five blessings of samadhi are these : — I. Ditthadhamma-sukhavihara (happy living in this world).

2. Vipassana (insight). 3. Abhiiiiia (intuitive knowledge). 4. Bhavavisesa (particular birth). 5. Nirodha (cessation).

" Samadhi means the placing, establishing of conscious- ness exclusively and voluntarily on any single object." ' Mrs. Rhys Davids means by samadhi ' rapt concentration,' ^ ' con- centrative meditation.' ' She also speaks of it thus : " But the emphasis in samadhi is that of concentration, of an intensive attention, which can onty be got by throwing overboard, into the sea of things disregarded and negligible, everything that is irrelevant and distracting to the single apex of thought (chitt'ekaggata), which is the equivalent term to samadhi." * There are ten hindrances of samadhi, viz : —

I.

'Avasa (dwelling place).

2.

Kulaiii (familj^).

3.

Labha (gain).

4-

Gana (assem.bly or congregation).

5-

Kamma (work).

6.

Addhanam (walking along the street).

7-

Nati (relation).

8.

Avada (sickness).

9-

Gantho (study).

10.

Iddhi (miracle).


Ordinarih" the Jhaiias or mystic meditations are consi- dered to be of four kinds. In the first Jhana.

stage of meditation, five elements, viz: — Vitakkavicarapitisukha and ekaggata, are present, in the second stage, the first two are eUminated, in the third, the first three are eHminated leaving sukham and ekaggata. In the fourth, sukham is replaced by upekkha and there are two elements, viz : upekkha and ekaggata. In his Visud- dhimagga (Vol. T, pp. 168-169) Buddhaghosa speaks of five Jhanas. There is not much difference between these two sets of meditations. In the second stage of the first set of meditations, two elements, viz : vitakka and vicara, disappear together but in the second set of meditations, they disappear one after another, thus giving opportunity for another stage. The third, fourth and fifth stage of the second set of meditations corresponds to the second, third and fourth stage of the first set.

With regard to Jhana, five vasis (powers) are to be obtained : —

1. Avajjanavasi (power of meditation). 2. Samapajjanavasi (power of attainment). 3. Adhitthanavasi (power of resolution). 4. Vutthanavasi (power of exertion). 5. Paccavekkhanavasi (power of contemplation).' Jhana means ' contemplation.' ' Mrs. Rhys Davids says, " And in the words Jhana, contemplation, and samadhi, rapt concentration, are contained the expression of that self -training in selective, intensive work of mind in which the Indian sought, by changing the usual conditions and procedure in cognition, to induce consciousness of a higher or different power." ' Mrs. Rhys Davids further sa^'s that Jhana or " ecstatic musing" was a practice prevalent from a long time similar to Yoga of the Hindus.' In her opinion " the more usual process of systematic elimination of factors in consciousness was that known as the four Jhanas."'

In the opinion of Buddhaghosa, Vimuttihanaih (know- ledge of emancipation) consists of knowledge of the following : —

Vipassana (insight), magga (path), phala (fruition) and paccavekkhanarii (introspection). Of these, knowledge of insight is the knowledge of emancipation in as much as it is freed from the idea of the eternal character of things. By magga is meant the salvation due to destruction (of sin). Phala means emancipation due to equanimity and pacca- vekkhana means knowledge of emancipation/ The five vimuttis are these: — Tadaiiga (emancipation from its ac- companiment), Vikkhambhana (obstructing), samuccheda (uprooting), patipassaddhi (equanimity) and nissarana (com- ing out). Buddhaghosa divides dhanima into guna, desana, pari- vatti and riissatta. He calls the three khandhas vedana, sahria and sahkhara nissattadhamma as well as nijjivadhamma. (Dhammapada Atthakatha, Vol. I, p. 22).

The word dhamma, according to him, has a veiy wide application. It is in the last sense (i.e. nissattadhamma) of the word that it has been dealt with in the Atthasalini. Buddhaghosa following the Dhammasahgani divides dhamma into kusala, akusala and avyakata. Kusala dham- ma means the condition which is associated with pleasing sensation, akusala dhamma means the condition w-hich is associated with painful sensation, and av3^akata dhamma means the condition which is associated with sensation which is neither pleasing nor painful.'

Mrs. Rhys Davids says, Dhamma implies that view or procedure which is, as we say, according to conscience, and constituting a more or less recognised standard, guiding rule, or norm." Every religious or ethical teacher of ancient India had some 'Dhamma' to propound.'" Dhamma has been translated as "the ideal, truth, law, right, system, cr doctrine according to the context." Mrs. Rhys Davids further remarks, "But if Dhamma is a term common to Indian thought, Abhidhamma seems to be a term exclu- sively used by Buddhists. And for them, Abhidhamma, meaning literally beyond, or ultra dhamma, covers all study of theory as such, and of logical method."'

one of degree. Mrs. Rhys Davids quotes the opinion of Buddhaghosa regarding Abhidhamma thus, " It v/as calcu- lated to check those excesses in thought away from the norm, which were shown, by the Buddha, to lead to loss of mental balance, craziness, insanity."

Dhutahga means thirteen ascetic practices which are observed for acquiring special merit.


Buddha said that these austerities might be observed but that there were no hard and fast rules for the performance of them. Buddhaghosa in his Visuddhimagga ' gives an account of how these austerities can be observed. For those who have much enjoyed the world and do not take care of their body and soul, thirteen dhutafigas have been prescribed by the Buddha, namely — -(i) putting on a robe made of rags collected from cemeteries, burning ghats or dust bins or garbages; (2) putting on only three robes ; (3) living on alms only ; (4) house-to-house begging ; (5) eating food sitting once on one seat ; (6) eating food from the alms- bowl; (7) eating food once received; (8) living in the forest; (9) living at the foot of trees ; (10) living in an open space ; (11) living in a cemetery; (12) being satisfied with whatever bedding one would get; (13) without lying down, passing one's days, sitting or walking, etc. Nirvana, according to the Visuddhimagga,' is the cessa- . . tion of five khandhas. The Visuddhi-yaiii' — there is only one truth and no second. This is the idea of Nirvana involved in this passage. Nirvana includes absence of passion, destruction of pride, killing of thirst, freedom from attachment, destruction of all sensual pleas- ures. These are the attributes of Nirvana.

In the Nidanadikatha of the Visuddhimagga, we find that Nirvana can be attained through meditation (jhana), wisdom (panna), precept (sila), steadfastness' (araddhavirij^a), etc. As a m.an who has taken poison, asks for an anti- dote, so does a saint affected with the poison of worldh^ life, pray for the nectar-like medicine. Nirvana.' Being bent upon self-concentration and Nirvana (perfect beatitude), one should proceed towards salvation. In the Atthasalini, Nirvana means that from which the arrow of desire is gone away. It is freedom from all sins, "final release from the lower nature " as Mr. Maung Tin puts it.

In the Sumahgalavilasini, we find that a person obtains Nirvana which is immortality, making himself free from the wilderness of misdeeds. Nirvana is described here as a state of bhss.^ This is in agreement with what has been said of Nirvana in the MiHnda Pahho, p. 69.

Elsewhere, Buddhaghosa describes Nirvana as a void.' This appears to be contradictory but this apparent contra- diction can easily be removed if we take into consideration the fact that the Buddhists beUeved in two different stages of Nirvana. One they used to call the Savupadisesanibbana and the other, Anupadisesanibbana. The first is reached with the attainment of Arahatship and the second after death. The first is a blissful state and the second is a void inasmuch as it means complete cessation of existence. So Buddhaghosa when he speaks of Nirvana as a blissful existence, refers to the state of an Arahat and when he speaks of it as a void, he evidently means the second stage of Nirvana or complete cessation of existence. Buddhaghosa explains Parinibbana as a state which a person acquires after removing all fetters (samyojanam).

Mrs. Rhys Davids speaks of Nibbana thus, " Nibbana is the realization of the final culminating stage in a single stream of life evolving from eternity." ' We quite agree with the learned author when she says that Nibbana is a quasi-negative term which "was at times employed as health, as well as happiness." * I Kathavatthupakarana-atthakatha, J.PTS., 1889, p. 178, cf. Dhaininapada, Verse 93. " Yassasava parikkhina, ahare ca anissito, | sunfiato animitto ca vimokho yassa gocaro, I akase va sakuntanarii padarh tassa durannayam. "

In the foregoing pages we have made an attempt to present an account of the Hfe and work of the great Bud- dhist commentator Buddhaghosa. The quaUty and bulk of the work produced in a single life-time show that our author must have been toiling steadily and indefatigably, year in and year out, working out the mission with which he was entrusted by his teacher, immured in a cell of the great monastery at Anuradhapura. Such a life is necessarily devoid of events, and we cannot expect to find in it the variety and fulness of the life-story of a great political figure. We have to be satisfied here with the bits and fragments that can be gathered from the great works that form the best record of the life of the great commentator. The long distance of centuries that separates us from his own times, has made the work of ascertaining the authentic events of his career a task of particular difficulty. Often we run the risk of being carried away by the enthusiasm of the biographer and take for actual history what was but fic- tion. However, a few facts of undoubted authenticity come out from this mixture of romance and history, of fanciful invention and authentic tradition, and tested in the light of references in the works left behind by the author himself, they give us an account that may be taken as genuine, though scanty and meagre, and at the conclusion of our work, we think we can do no better than take stock of these few events about which perhaps there can be no doubt.


Born in northern India, Buddhaghosa was brought up in the Brahmanic traditions. He had a wide knowledge of Indian Hterature, including the sacred lore of the Brahmins and works on both science and art. He mastered the three Pitakas and studied the Sinhalese commentaries. He was conversant with the sj^stem of Pataiijali and was apparently himself a follower of the system before he embraced the Buddhist faith. Not only the Yoga but Sahkh3^a system was also known to him, as is apparent from his works. These, moreover, abound in references to the canonical literature as contained in the Pitakas, the Sinhalese com- mentaries, the Mihnda-Pafiho, the Petaka and so on. The commentator has thoroughly studied the Abhidhamma literature from which he drew a good deal of his materials. His art of handling difficult philosophical problems is masterly, as is manifested in erudite works like the Attha- salini and the Kathavatthupakarana-atthakatha. He studi- ed Buddhism thoroughly and he dealt with the subject care- fully in his Visuddhimagga which is a vast treasure-house of Buddhist lore. He enriched the Buddhist literature by drawing new materials from other sources. He studied the history of Ceylon thoroughly; he often refers to the Ceylonese kings, districts, viharas, etc., in his works, not- ably in his Visuddhimagga and the Dhammapada-attha- katha. He was undoubtedly -one of the great celebrities of the Mahavihara at x\nuradhapura. He is rightly re- garded as a great teacher of mankind. Mahayanism, how- ever, does not appear to have been studied by him. No- where in his works does he make anv mention of it.


James Gray is perfectly right in saying, " Buddhaghosa stands out as a grand figure in the annals of Buddhism." He not only praises the commentator as a commentator but also his commentaries. He saj^s, "the colossal nature of the work accomplished by him as a translator and expounder of Buddha's words, the profound scholarship brought to bear upon that work, and the almost super- human zeal and self-denial manifested by him to execute it, evoke the highest esteem and admiration on the part of those who hcive made Pali literature a study" (Buddhaghosuppatti, Introduction, p. i.)

Mrs. Rhys Davids says that Buddhaghosa apparently resembled the European philosophers prior to Hume and Hartley so far as the problems of representative cognition or of the association of ideas are concerned — "for Spinoza's statements (Ethics, II. XVII, XVIII) carry us no further than Buddhaghosa' s as psychological theory though they are better summaries." (Buddhist Psychology, p. 191.) Bishop Copleston in his work on Buddhism (Primitive and Present) says, "It would be hardly too much to say that Buddhaghosa was the second founder of Buddhism of Ceylon " (p. 201). He was called the second founder of Buddhism in Ceylon because he came there after Mahinda. Kern speaks of him as " the most celebrated of soutliern Buddhist authors.'"

Almost all European scholars give their best compli- ments to Buddhaghosa as a commentator. It seems really surprising that although he was at first brought up in brahmin traditions and was an adherent of the system of PataiijaH, he acquired such a thorough master}^ over the Pah language and literature that it enabled him to read and appreciate the Pali Pitakas and perform his task so ahly later on. His was a useful career. Although it is not definitely known when he died, it is conceivable that he lived long to see his labours amiply rewarded and to enjoy the wide fame that he so well deserved. As long as Buddhism remains a living faith among mankind. Buddhaghosa will not cease to be remembered with reverence and gratitude by Buddhist peoples and schools.

It is a pit}^ that an opinion is being propounded in some quarters that Buddhaghosa is not a historical personage, that he did not live and write the many works that bear his name. Mrs. Rh^^s Davids in her learned Foreword to this work, points out that a hypothesis of this nature has been lately put forward by M. L. Finot.' We shall consider ourselves ampty rewarded if the foregoing sketch of the life and career of the great Buddhist author, serves to convince our readers that he was a real person who lived and worked for the propagation of the Buddhist faith and for the interpretation of the Buddhist literature. I See La Legende De Buddhaghosa. Cinquantenaire De L'Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Paris, 1921. It is a pamphlet of 19 pages written in French on the legends of Buddhaghosa, so kindly presented to me by M. Louis Finot. We regret that we cannot agree with him in his views. We fully concur with Mr. Pe Maung Tin in all that he says in his critical review of this paper in J.R.A.S., April, 1923, pp. 265-269.

INDEX

Abbidhamma, 5, 34, 43. Abbidhammabbajaniya, 58. Abbidbammapitaka, 46, 54, 57, >]"] , 83. Abhidhammavatara, 43, g6, 98, 99. Abbidbaramattbasamgaha, 164. Abbidbarmakosa, 59. Abbidbarmamahavibbasa Sastra, 59- Accutavikkauta, 98, 100. Acelakas, 117. Ajatasatru, 109, iii, 112, 114. AjitakesakambaHn, 108. Alaka, 105, 106. Ambariya Vibara, 122. Anagatavarhsa, 10. Anatbapindika, 118, 119, 120. Andhra Kings, 105. Anga, 106. Angulimala, 116. Anovama, 87. Antagunarh, 129. Antaih, 129. Anuradbapura, 7, 9, 2i, 34, 76. Araua Vibbaiiga, 53. Aritthatbera, 65. Asoka, 91. Assaka, 105, 106. Assu, 132.

Aswagbosa, 90, 91. Atbabbanaveda, 12. Attbakatbacarij'-a, 63. Attbasalini, t8, 68, 69, 70, 123. Attbi, 127. Attbiminja, 128. Aung, S. Z., 141, 143, 144, 146. Avijja, 135, 153, 154. Ajivikas, 107. Apatti, 105. Asannam, 150. Ayatana, 154. Bahulaiii, 150. Benares, 49. Bharata, 48. Bbasa, 119. Bhasya, 49. Bhutarupa, 155. Bigandet, 11. Bimbisara, 109, 114. Bodbimanda, 3. Bodbirajakumara, 120. Brabma, 13. Brabmajala Sutta, 121. Buddhacarita, 89, 90. Buddbadasa, 22. Buddbadatta, 43, 96, 97, 98, 100. Buddbagbosa, 11, 81, 115.

1/8 Burlingame, E. W., 74, So, Si. Burma, 41. Cakkhusampassajiasanria, 146 . Carapa, 49, 106. Campaka. 106. Cariyapitaka-atthakatha, q6. Childers, R. C , 93, I44. 146, I53- Citta, 138, 139.. Cittalapabbata, 123. Cola Kingdom, 98. Copleston, 71. Culakamma-Yibhanga, 53. Culavedalla. 58. Cullabuddhaghosa, 96. Dakkhina Vibhaiiga, 53. Dakshinapatha, 105. Damila, loi. Danta, 125. Das Gupta, S. N., 147. Descartes, 146. Devadatta, 109. Dhamma, 168, 169. Dhammakitti, 3, 8, 12^ 15, iS. Dhammapadatthakatha, 80, 82, 83, 88, III. Dhammapada commentary, 81, 94. Dhammapala, loi, 102, 103. Dhummasangani, 4, 69, 124. Dhatukathapakarauatthakatha, 84. Dhatu Vibhanga, 53. Dhutanga, 170. Dutthagamanl Abhaya, 22.

INDEX Finot, Iv., 176. Gaggara, 106. Gandhakuti, 115. Gandhavamsa, 55, 9S. Ganges, iii. Ganthakaro Viharo, 8. Garukaih, 150. Gaya, 69. Ghanasampassajjasanna, 146. Ghosa, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34> 35= 36, 37- Ghosagama, 26. Ghosaka, 81. Godavari, 105, 106. Grey. J., 26. Hackmanu, PI , 41. Hadayam, 128. Hatthilinga, 118, 121. Hem Chandra, 41. Indriya, 105, 160. Irrubbeda, 12. Isana, 13. Itihasa, 13. Itivuttaka-atthakatha, 96. Jarabudvipa, 5, 34, 40, 56, 69. Jatilas, 117. Jeta, 119. jetavana. 116, 119. Jhana, 167. Jinalankara, 97.

«J

INDEX

179

Jivhasampassaj jasanna, 1 46. Jnanaprasthana Sastra, 59. Kaccayana, 40. Kahapaiia, 119. Kalamba, 98. Kalavallimaiidapa, 122. Kamavacaradutiyakusala, 146. Kamavacarapathamakusala. 146. Kamma, 52, 150, 151, 152, ]53. Kammatthana, "j^. Kancipura, 76. Kaiihadasa, 98. Kankhavitarani, 78. Karisaiii, 130. Kasinas, ']^. Katatta-Kamma, 150. Kathavatthu, 61. Kathavatthu-atthakatha, 84. Kathavatthu commentary, 94. Kaveri, 92, 98. Kayasampassajjasaiiua, 146. Kelo, 133. Kern, 148. Kesa, 125. Kesini, 26, 27. KesT, ^6, 27, 28, 29, 33, 34. Khandha, 58, 149- Khuddakanikayatthakallia, (So. Khuddakapatha, rii. Kilomako, 129. Koliyas, no Kosala, 114, 115, 117 Kosala-vSamyutta. iiO.

Kosambl, 118, 119. Ksatriya, no. Kumara Gupta, 100. Kuru, 119. Kurunda Atthakatha, 22. 76, 82. Kurundavelu Vihara, 22. 76. Kutagarasala, 107. lyanka. 34. Lasika, 133. Ledi Sadaw, 139, 143, 144, 157. Leibnitz, 146. Licchavis, 107, no, in, 112, 113. Locke, 146. lyohita, 132. Loma. 125. Maduratthavilasini, 92, 96. Magadha, 8, loO, 107, 114, 116. Magadhi, ^t, 38, 69, 75, 97. Miigandiya, 119. Magatha, n. Magha, 48. Maha- Atthakatha, 21, 76, 82. Mahabhasya, 15. Mahabodhi, 5. Mahabuddhaghosa, 25. Mahacetiya, 123. -Mahaddhammarakkhila, 24. -Mahakaccayana, 50, 55, 5'>, 5<). <>'•> M ahak ammavi bhanga, 5 ] . Maliakassapa, kj. 30. Mahakoltlnta, 50, 5!), 57. MahrikuiMinda-allhakat li:i 77.

i8o

IIN^DBX

Mahali, 113. Mahali sutta, 107. Mahanag'A, 22, 122. Mahanama, 3, 7, 9, 23.. Mahaniruttigandho, 56. Mahapaccari, 21. Mahapaccariyatthakatha, 69. Mahapadhanagharam, 4. Mahapadhana Hall, 7. Mahaparinibbana Sutta, 9. Mahavagga. 78. Mahavamsa, 2, 8, 44, 47, 66, 69, 75, 91. Mahavana, 107. Mahavedalla, 58. Mahavihara,7, t6, 17, 18, 19,20, 34, 81, 98. Mahay aiiism, 174. Mahinda. 6, 23, 75,. 91. Majjhima Nikaya, 10. Makkhali Gosala, 108, 117. Malebrauche. 146. Mallas, no. Mallika, 115. Mallika's park, 109. Marhsa, 126. Manasikaiavidhi, 73. ManorathapuraiiT, 80, 81. Mauosampassajjasanna, 146. Martaban. 11. Matthalufigara. J30. Maung Tin, 176. Medo, 132.

Metteyyo, 5. Milinda Pafilio, 9, 10, 47, 6r, 158. Moggaliputta Tissa, 45, 59. Moggallana, 41, 50. Morris, 9. Muttaiii, 134. Nagai, 70. Nagasena, 9, 10, 44, 45. Nagasenathera, 10. Naharu, 126. Nakha. 125. Nakulanagara, 122. Nalanda, 49. Nama, 100. Namarupa, 136, 155. Nandapanfia, 63. Nanodaya, 4, 68, 137. Natasamajja, 121. Nicchavi, in. Niddesa, 58, 67. Nigautha, 107, 117. Nigantha Nathaputta, 117. Nirukta, 13. Norman, 81. Oltramare, 130. Orpheus, 121. Padyacudaraani, 85, 89, 90. Padaratittha, loi. Pagan, ii. Pajapati, 13. Pakativada. 135.

INDEX

l8l

Pakudba Kaccayatia, io8, Pali Text Society, 14. Panini, 105. Panfia, 15. Pannattivada, 62. Papaticasudani, 10, 79, 114, 117. Papphasaiii. 129. Paramatthajotika, {;7, iir. Parantapa, 118. Pasadika Suttanta. no. PasenadI, 115. Patanjali's, 15. Paticcasarauppada, [47, 152. Patikavagga, y8. Patisambhida, 56. Patthanapakaranatthakatha, 84. Pava, 49. Pavarana, 38. Pavenipotthaka, 114. Pekkhaiii, 121. Penaiiibangana, 124. Petakopadesa, 10. Petakopadesagandho, 56. Phassa, 140, 141. Pihakaiii, 129. Pischel, R., 137. Pitakattayalakkhaiiagandha, 85. Piti-Khanika, 162. ,, Khuddika, i()2. ,, Okkantika, 162. ,. Ubbega, 162. Pittaiii. 130. Poranacariya, 63

Poranas, 62, 64, 65, 66. Prakriti, 135, 136. Prapti, 105. Pubbo, 131. Puggala, 155. Puggala Pannatti, 54. Puggala Pannattipakarauattha- katha, 84. Puggala Pafiiiatti commeutary, 100. Purana Kassapa, 108, 117. Purusa, 135, 136. Rahu, 104. Raja, 113, Rajagaha, 49, 65, 115, 118. Rajaniti, 112. Reid. 146 Revata, 4, 5, 31, 135. Rhys Davids, 8, 9, 10, 63, 64, 92, 93, 99, loi, 102. 103, 139, 145. Rupa, 100. Riipakkhandha, 149. Sabbaratticara, in. Sabbarattivara, in. vSaccavibhaiiga, 54. Saddhamma Samgaho, 70. Sakyas, no. vSalayataua Vibliaiiga, 53. Samadhi, 15, 165. Samantapasadika, 65, 70, 77, 105. Samaveda, 12. Samghapala, 4, 17. Saniiddhi, 52,

l82

INDEX

Samkhara, 146, 147, 148, 154. Sammohovinodani, 84. Sangiti Parayaya Sutra, 54 Sankhya, 14, i35> 136- Safana, 145. Sannakkhandha, 145. Saratthapakasini, 23, 75, 79 ^ ^23. Sariputta, 6, 50, 55, 74, ii5- Sasanavaiiisa, 76. Satavahana, 120. Savatthi, 49, 115, 119. Sayana, i. Sedo, 132. Semhaiii, 130. Senapati, 113. Sikkhapadavibhanga, 53. Sila, 158, 159. Silakkhandha, 51. Singlianika, 133. Soma, 13. Sotasampassajjasauna, 146. Spence Hardy, 91, 142^ 145. Sravasti, 118. Suddhodana, 31^. Sumangalavilasini, 20, 21, 78, 107, 112, 117. Svapnavasavadatta, 119. Taca, T26. Tambapanni, 65. Theragatha-atthakatlia, 96. Theravadins, 62, 74. Thuparama, 124. Tripitaka, i.

Tusita, 42. Udana-attliakatha, 96. Udariyam, 130. Udayana, 119. Ujjeni, 49. Ukkatthanagara, 117. Ulumpa, 49. Upadarupa, 155. Uparaja, 113. Upekkha, 163. Uruvelaya, 8. Uttara Madhura, 49. Uttaravinicchayo, 95. Vaidehi, 116. Vaisali, 107. Vaisesika philosophy, 155. Vajjian, 112. Vakkarii. 128. Varuna, 13. Vasa, 133. Vasavadatta, 119. Vasuvandhu, 59. Vedaiia. 142, 143. Venhudasa, 98. Vesali, 49, 112. Veyyakarana, 58. Vibhajjavadiii, 17. 'Vibhaiiga, 58. Vimuttimagga, 70. Vimuttinanaiii, 16S. Vinaya, 34, 43. Vinaya-atthakatha, 65. Vinayavinicchaya. 98.

INDEX

183

Vifinana, 145. Vinnanakkhandha, 143, 144. Visakha, 118. Visnu, 28. Visuddhimagga, 7, 10, 18, 19, 21, 24, 36, 4T, 66, 70. 71, 72. T^:,, 74. S4> 94. 99. 104. 147, 151. Voharika, 113.

Warren, 149. Yajubbeda, 12. Yakanam, 128. Yama, 13. Yamakapakaranatthakatha, 84. Yaska, 13. Yoga, 135, 136.

Source

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