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Vattagamani Abhaya, 1 Definition(s)

'Vattagamani Abhaya' belongs in these categories: Buddhism, Pali

1 DEFINITION(S):

King of Ceylon (29 17 B.C.). He was the son of Saddhatissa, and came to the throne by killing the usurper Maharattaka (v.l. Kammaharattaka).

He married Anula, wife of Khallatanaga, and adopted Mahaculika as his own son; because of this Vattagamani came to be known as Pitiraja (this name occurs several times in the Commentaries - e.g., VibhA. passim, see Pitiraja).

Vattagamani had a second wife, Somadevi, and also a son of his own, called Coranaga. In the fifth month of his reign a brahmin, named Tissa, rose against him, but was defeated by seven Damilas who landed at Mahatittha. . After that, the Damilas waged war against the king and defeated him at Kolambalaka. It was a remark made by the Nigantha Giri to Vattagamaini, as he fled from the battle, that led later to the establishment of Abhayagiri (q.v.). The king hid in the forest in Vessagiri and was rescued by Kupikkala Mahatissa, who gave him over to the care of Tanasiva. In his flight he left Somadevi behind, and she was captured by the Damilas.

For fourteen years Vattagamani and his queen Anula lived under the protection of Tanasiva, and, during this time, five Damilas ruled in succession at Anuradhapura; they were Pulahattha, Bahiya, Panayamara, Pilayamara and Dathika.

After a time, Anula quarrelled with Tanasivas wife, and the king, in his resentment, killed Tanasiva. Later, when he also killed Kapisisa, his ministers left him in disgust, but were persuaded by Mahatissa to return. When his preparations were complete, the king attacked Dathika, slew him, and took the throne. He then founded Abhayagiri vihara and recovered Somadevi. He also built the Silasobbhakandaka cetiya. He had seven ministers who themselves built several viharas; among them Uttiya, Mula, Saliya, Pabbata and Tissa are mentioned by name.

It was in the reign of Vattagamani that the Buddhist Canon and its Commentaries were first reduced to writing in Ceylon, according to tradition, in Aloka vihara. For details of Vattagamanis reign see Dpv.xx.14ff.; Mhv.xxxiii.34ff. The foundation of Abhayagiri vihara formed the beginning of dissensions in the ranks of the monks (Cv.lxxiii.18). Vattagamani was, however, regarded by later generations as a great protector of the faith (Cv.lxxxii.23). Various monasteries, chiefly rock temples, are traditionally ascribed to Vattagamani, and said to have been built by him during his exile; among these is the modern Dambulla vihara. The Culavamsa calls him the founder of the Majjhavela vihara. Cv.c.229.

Added: 12.Apr.2009 | Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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