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Buddhist India, T.W. Rhys Davids:

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

Warren, Buddhism in Translations

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

See also: Weights and Measures

Buddha's india Map

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

p.p. explains it all — p.p.


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

Table of Place Names

Place Name



DPPN: A town thirty yojanas from Sāvatthi and probably twelve from Benares. It lay between Sāvatthi and Rājagaha. The Buddha on several occasions, stayed at Āḷavī at the Aggāḷava shrine which was near the town. In the sixteenth year after the Enlightenment, the Buddha spent the whole of the rainy season at Āḷavī and preached the doctrine to 84,000 listeners. The King of Āḷavī was known as Āḷavaka and the inhabitants as Āḷavakā. The town later became famous as the residence of Āḷavaka Yakkha and of Hatthaka Āḷavikī. The therī, Selā was born in Āḷavī and was therefore known as Āḷavikā. There was evidently a large community of monks at Ālavī, some of whom seem to have chiefly occupied themselves with building vihāras for themselves.


DPPN: A city in the kingdom of Aṅga. It was here that the Mahā Assapura and Cūla Assapura Suttas were preached by the Buddha.
According to the Cetiya Jātaka, Assapura was built by the second of the five sons of King Upacara of Cetī, on the spot where he saw a pure white horse. It lay to the south of Sotthīvatī, Upacara's capital.

Bārāṇasī, Benares

DPPN: The capital of Kāsi-janapada. It was one of the four places of pilgrimage for the Buddhists - the others being Kapilavatthu, Buddhagayā and Kusināra - because it was at the Migadāya in Isipatana near Bārāṇasī, that the Buddha preached his first sermon to the Panñcavaggiyā.
Benares was an important centre of trade and industry. There was direct trade between there and Sāvatthī, (the road passing through Bhaddiya,) and between there and Takkasīlā.
Bārāṇasī evidently derives its name from the fact that it lies between the two rivers Barṇā and Asi.
For greater detail see separate article Barṇā


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

See: AN 7 58; AN 8 30


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



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

Ceti, Cetiya

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

See: AN 8.30

Gayā (Bodhi-Gayā)

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

Bohd Gaya


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


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


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


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

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


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


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


A town of Potters in Kuru-land. The place where the Māgandiya Sutta, Mahānidāna Sutta, MahāSatipaṭṭhāna Sutta, and Āneñjasappāya Suttas were delivered.

Koliyā, Koḷiyā

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

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

See also: D.P.P.N.: Koliyā
AN 4.194


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


Capital city of the Vaṃsas. It's kings during the Buddha's time were Parantapa and his son Udena whom we hear of in connection with the Magandiya Sutta in the story of Sāmavatī.
Also delivered in Kosambī, Ananda's discourse to the Brahmin Uṇṇābha: SN 5.51.15.
DPPN gives the route from Mahissati to Rājagaha as: Ujjeni, Gonaddha, Vedisa, Vanasavhya, Kosambī, Sāketa, Sāvatthi, Setavyā, Kapilavatthu, Kusinārā, Pāvā, Bhoganagara and Vesāli.

Kuru Land

see: Kurus; below.


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


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


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


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


Land of the Māgadhas. One of the main kingdoms of Buddha's India. It's capital was Rājagaha. Kings of the time were Bimbisāra and his son Ajātasattu. Boundaries were the River Campa on the east, the Vindhyā mountains on the south, the River Soṇa on the west and the River Ganges on the north. Sāriputta and Moggallāna were Magadhas.
Other places in Magadha: Ekanālā, Nālakagāma, Senāṇigāma, Khānumata, Andhakavindha, Macala, Mātulā, Ambalaṭṭhikā, Pāṭigāma, Nālandā and Sālindiya.


One of the 16 provinces, with two major kingdoms whose capitals were Pāvā and Kusinārā.


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


Birth- and death-place of Sariputta.


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


The capital of Magadha, one of the six great cities. During the Buddha's time ruled over by Bimbisāra and later his son Ajātasattu.
Sāriputta and Moggallāna entered the Saṅgha here during the Buddha's first visit.
The location of Vulture's Peak, the Banyan Grove, Robbers' Cliff, Sattapaññi cave on the slope of Mount Vebhāra, Black Rock on the slope of Mount Isigili, Sītavana Grove in the mountain cave Sappasondika, Tapoda Grove, Bambu Grove, the Squirrels' Feeding Ground, Jīvaka's Mango Grove, and the Deer Forest at Maddakukkhi.
The Āṭānāṭiya, Udumbarika, Kassapasīhanāda, Jīvaka, Mahāsakuladāyī, and Sakkapañha suttas were delivered here.


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


A Kuru township


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


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


[from DPPN]: The capital of Avantī. In the Buddha's time, Caṇḍa-Pajjota was king of Ujjenī and there ws friendly intercourse between that city and Magadha, whose king was Seniya Bimbisāra. There was an old trade-route from Ujjenī to Benares and the merchants of the two cities showed healthy rivalry not only in trade, but also in matters of culture. Ujjenī was the birthplace of Mahā Kaccāna, Isidāsi, Abhaya and of the courtesan Padumavatī, mother of Abhayā.


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

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


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


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

Veḷukaṇḍa, aka Veḷukaṇṭa

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


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



The Middle Country

Warren: Buddhism in Translations pp41:

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

"It lies in the middle, on this side of the town Kajañgala on the east, beyond which is Mahā-Sāla, and beyond that the border districts. It lies in the middle, on this side of the river Salalavatī on the southeast, beyond which are the border districts. It lies in the middle, on this side of the town Setakannika on the south, beyond which are the border districts. It lies in the middle, on this side of the Brahmanical town Thūna on the west, beyond which are the border districts. It lies in the middle, on this side of the hill Usīraddhaja on the north, beyond which are the border districts."



The Four Major Kingdoms

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



The Five Great Rivers

The Gaṅgā, Jambudīpa, Yamunā, Aciravatī, Sarabhū, and Mahī.



The Sixteen Provinces of Buddhist India

PED: The 16 provinces of Buddhist India are comprised in the soḷasa mahā-janapadā (Miln 350) enumd at A I.213=IV.252 sq.=Nd2 247 (on Sn 1102) as follows: Angā, Magadhā (+Kālingā, Nd2] Kāsī, Kosalā, Vajjī, Mallā, Cetī (Cetiyā A IV.), Vaṃsā (Vangā A I.), Kurū, Pañcālā, Majjā (Macchā A), Sūrasenā, Assakā, Avantī, Yonā (Gandhārā A), Kambojā. Cp. Rhys Davids, B. India p. 23.




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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



Highways (Trade Routes)

from: Rhys Davids, Buddhist India, pp103ff

1. North to South-west. Sāvatthi to Patiṭṭhāna (Paithan) and back. The principal stopping places are given[1] (beginning from the south) as Māhissati, Ujjeni, Gonaddha, Vedisa, Kosambī, and Sāketa.

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

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

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

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


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

[2] Sutta Nipāta loc. cit., and Dīgha, 2.

[3] Vinaya Texts, I. 81.

[4] Ibid. 3. 401

[5] Ibid. 3. 382

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

[7] Jāt. 3. 365

[8] V.V.A. 370.

[9] Jāt. 3. 188.

[10] Ibid. 4. 15-17.

[11] Ibid. 6. 32-35.

[12] Ibid. I. 108.

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

[14] Jāt. 2. 127.



The Ten Sounds Of A Big City

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



Locations of the Buddha's Rainy Season Residences

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

Rainy Season



Deer Park, Isipatana, Baranasi

2nd,3rd and 4th

Veluvana Monastery, Rājagaha


Pinnacled Hall, Kutagarasala, Great Forest Mahavana Vesali


Makula Hill


Tavatimsa Celestial Realm


Bhesakala Deer Park, Sam sumara-giri, Bhagga Province




Pāḷileyyaka Grove


Nalikarama Monastery, Nalaka Brahmin Village


at the foot of Naleru Neem Tree, Veranja Province


Caliya Hill


Jetavana Monastery, Savatthi


Nigrodharama Monastery, Kapilavatthu


near Alavi


Veluvana Monastery, Rājagaha


Caliya Hill


Veluvana Monastery, Rājagaha

21st to 38th

Jetavana Monastery, Savatthi

39th to 44th

Pubbarama Monastery, Savatthi


Veluva Village



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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