by Gelongma Karma Migme Chödrön | 2001 | 941,039 words
This page describes “why is it called gridhrakutaparvata (vulture peak mountain)” as written by Nagarjuna in his Maha-prajnaparamita-sastra (lit. “the treatise on the great virtue of wisdom”) in the 2nd century. This book, written in five volumes, represents an encyclopedia on Buddhism as well as a commentary on the Pancavimsatisahasrika Prajnaparamita.
Question. – Why is it called Vulture Peak mountain?
Answer. – 1. The summit of this mountain resembles a vulture and the inhabitants of Rājagṛha, because of this resemblance, agreed to call it Vulture Peak mountain. This is why it is called Gṛdhrakūṭaparvata.
2. Furthermore, south of Rājagṛha, in the Che t’o lin (Śītavana), there were many corpses; vultures commonly came to devour them and then went to perch on the peak of the [nearby] mountain. The people then named it Vulture Peak mountain. It is the highest of the five mountains [of Rājagṛha]. It abounds in precious forests and waters. The āryas live there.
Footnotes and references:
Above, we saw that the Śītavana served as a cemetery of Kuśāgra, the old city. This detail has been confirmed by the Dīvyavadāna, p. 264, 268. Going there one day, Anāthapiṇḍika was seized by fear (Vinaya, II, p. 155).
The twofold explanation given here is repeated in many places by Buddhaghosa, e.g., Papañca, II, p. 63: tassa pabbatassa gijjhasadisam… ti vuccati.
The Gṛdhrakūṭaparvata was visited by Fa hien (Legge, p. 82–83) and by Hiuan tsang (Watters, II, p. 151). Cunningham (CAGI, p. 534) identifes it with the modern Śailagiri, two and a half miles north-west of the old city.