The Account of the Mahiyangana Tope

  1. It is said, King Devānampiyatissa’s second brother, the Viceregent, was named Mahànàga. The king’s consort coveted the kingship for her own son, and while the Vice-regent was making the tank called Taraccha, she sent him a mango fruit which she had poisoned and laid uppermost among (other) mango fruits. The queen’s son who had gone (there) with the Vice-regent, took and ate the mango fruit when the dish was uncovered and died. Knowing the cause of it the Vice-regent was afraid of the queen, and taking his own wife and army from there he went to Rohana. On the way his chief queen gave birth to a son at the Yattala-vihara.! He gave him his brother’s name Tissa. He went thence and while living in Mahāgāma he reigned in Rohana. After his death his son Yattala-Tissa reigned in the same Mahāgāma. After his death his son, named Gothabhaya, also reigned there. Gothābhaya’s son, named Kākavaņņa-Tissa also reigned there. King Tissa of Kalyani’s daughter, named Vihāra-Mahādevi, was, it is said, the chief queen of King Kákavanna-Tissa. She was dear to and beloved by the king. The king lived in concord with her doing works of merit. Now, one day, when the queen had made a great gift to the Order of monks in the royal abode, in the evening, having had perfumes and garlands and the like taken, she went to the monastery to hear (the preaching of) the doctrine. There she found a virtuous recluse who was lying down very ill and on the point of death, and when she had honoured him with the perfumes and garlands and the like and had praised her own fortune, she asked him, ‘Do you wish to become my son, Revered sir?’ He did not want to, yet again and again she asked him. – And the recluse thought: ‘If this were so, I would be able to render help to the religion, and he consented. After he had appeared in the deva world, conditioned by his passing on he left it, he took reinstatement, according to his desire, in the queen’s womb as she was going her way in a golden palanquin. At the expiry of ten months she gave birth to a son. They named him Gàmani-Abhaya. Subsequently they gave him also another name (calling him) Tissa.
  2. The prince Gàmani grew up in due course and at the age of sixteen became an expert in elephant-training, in horse-training and in swordsmanship, and he was possessed of glory, strength and valour. Nandimitta, Suranimmala, Mahàsena, Gotthayimbara, Theraputtabhaya, Bharana, Velusumana, Khafijadeva, Phussadeva, Labhiyyavasabha—these ten great warriors King Kakavannatissa placed under his son and made him live (with them). The account of their origin should be learnt from the Mahāvamsa.
  3. On these ten great warriors did the king confer honours like the honours conferred on his son. He had prince Tissa stationed at Dīghavāpī in order to guard the country. Then one day, prince Gāmaņi reviewing the strength of his army, had the king told: ‘I will make war upon the Tamils.’ The king, to protect his son, forbade him, saying: ‘(The region on)this side of the Ganges is enough.’ Three times he had this told him. ‘ Enraged at this the king said: ‘Make a golden chain, (with that) I will bind and protect him.’ Angered at his father the king Abhaya fled and went to Malaya.! Thereupon because he was angry (dutta) with his father he was known as Dutthagāmaņi. The king made the (ten) warriors take an oath not to go to the battlefield of his sons.
  4. When King Kākavaņņatissa had had sixty-four monasteries built and lived just sixty-four years, he died. When prince Tissa heard that his father had died, he came from Dighavapi, and when he had had the funeral rites performed for his father, he took his mother and the elephant Kandila (with him) and for fear of his brother went back to Dighavapi. The ministers, who had gathered together, sent (a message) telling Dutthagàmani that matter. On hearing the message he repaired to Guttasāla,? and having sent messages to his brother he came from there to Mahāgāma and having had himself consecrated king, he said ‘Let them send the mother and the elephant Kandila’, –
  5. When he had sent a letter to his brother for the third time and had understood that they would not be sent, he set forth to make war (upon him). Being prepared for the war, the prince, too, set forth. Between the two brothers there took place a great battle at Cūļangaņiyapitthi. Those warriors who had taken the oath did not, it is said, become parties to their battle. At that time many thousands of the king’s men died. The king being defeated, took his minister Tissa and the mare Dighatünika and fled. The prince pursued them closely, (but) between (the two brothers) monks created a mountain. When the prince saw it, he turned back knowing that it was the work of the Order of monks. When the king in his flight came to the Jalamāla ford of the river Kappakandara, he said: ‘I am hungry.’ His minister took out food that was placed in a golden vessel, and offered it to bim. The king observed the time and thought: ‘After offering it to the Order I will eat.’ When he had divided it into four portions—for the Order, for his minister, for the mare and for himself—he had the time announced. Then an Elder, named Kutumbiya Tissa came from Piyangu island and stood before him. Delighted at heart at the sight of the Elder, the king placed in the Elder’s bowl the portion set apart for the Order and his own portion. His minister, too, placed (in it) his own portion, and the mare also was willing to give (her portion). Knowing her intention the minister also put her portion into the bowl. ‘Thus the king gave the Elder the bowl filled with food. “The Elder took the bowl and going away offered it to the thera named Gotama. When he had served five hundred monks with food and had again filled the bowl with the portions received from them he threw it into the air; the bowl went off and stood before the king. Tissa received it, and when he had served the king with food and then himself had eaten from it he fed the mare. Then the king sent the bowl away, making of his field-cloak a cushion (to bear it). It went thence and stood firmly on the Elder’s hand. Arriving again at Mahāgāma, the king assembled his army and taking sixty thousand troops he again made war upon his brother. At that time many thousands of the prince’s men fell; the prince fled and came to a monastery and entered the cell of the chief Elder. The king pursued him closely, but when he knew he had entered the monastery, he turned back. Afterwards the Elders made those two brothers beg pardon from each other. Then the king sent prince Tissa to Dīghavāpī to direct the work of harvest, and when he had made it known by the beat of drum, he himself also directed the work of harvest. When (the king) had assembled the multitude and had had a relic laid on his spear, attended by his troops he went to Tissārāma, and when he had bowed down before the Order, he said: ‘Revered sirs, to bring glory to the doctrine I will go (to the land) on the further shore of the Ganges.! Give us monks who will go with us, so that we may treat it with honour.’ The Order gave him five hundred monks. With this Order of monks the king, mounting on the elephant Kandula and surrounded by warriors, set out with a mighty host. When he had arrived at Mahiyangana he fought with the Damilas? there and built the Kaficuka tope at Mahiyangana. (This is) a connected account in order to make clear (the account) of that tope.
  6. The Blessed One, it is said, in the ninth month after his Enlightenment, came to this island, and he came also to the gathering of yakkhas on the bank of the Ganges, in the Mahānāga-garden, three yojanas long and one yojana wide, and there he standing in the air over the heads of those yakkhas, at the place of the (future) tope, Mahiyangana, terrified the yakkhas with rain, storm, darkness and the like. When they had besought him (to release them) from their fear, he said: ‘I will release you from fear, give me with one accord a place where I may sit down.’ The yakkhas replied: ‘O Lord! we give you the whole of this island; release us from fear.’ Afterwards when the Blessed One had removed their fear and had spread his rug of skin on the ground that they had given him, and was sitting there, he attained to the Kasina meditation on heat, he burnt the rug of skin on all sides and increased (tho flames). Overwhelmed by the rug of skin, they crowded together all round the sea-shore. By his supernormal power the Blessed One brought Giridīpa ! here, and when he had made the yakkhas enter there, he restored the island to its former place and folded his rug of skin. Then the devatās assembled and in that assembly the Blessed One preached (them) the doctrine, thus: “The conversion? of many crores of living beings took place and countless were those who placed themselves in the refuges and the precepts. In the Sumanakūta-mountain,$ the great Sumana, king of the devas who had attained to the fruition of a StreamWinner, begged of him who should be honoured, something to honour. The Conqueror, the benefactor of living beings, passing (his hand) over his (own) head, gave him a handful of hairs from the pure blue-black hairs of his head. Taking these in lovely golden casket, he laid the hairs of the (Buddha’s) head upon a heap of many-coloured jewels, seven cubits round, piled up at the place where the Master had sat, and covered them over with a tope of sapphire and worshipped them.’
  7. When the Blessed One had passed away entirely, the Elder named Sarabhū, a pupil of the Elder Sàriputta, the captain of the doctrine, received from the funeral pile, the collar-bone relic and came in the company of the Order of monks and laid it in that same shrine and covered it with goldencoloured stones, and when he had built the shrine twelve cubits high, he departed.
  8. King Devànampiyatissa’s brother named Cülabhaya saw the wonderful shrine and built the shrine thirty cubits high. King Dutthagāmani Abhaya of the present time came to Mahiyangana and subdued the Damilas there and built a mantle shrine, eighty cubits high (over it), and reverenced it.

‘Thus do the virtuous accomplish even extraordinary deeds, and do the wise who shun the fear of existence, perform works of merit.’