by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes The Buddha’s Second Vassa contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).
The Buddha, accompanied by over twenty thousand bhikkhus, left Anupiya Mango Grove, near the village of Anupiya, in Malla country, for Veḷuvana monastery, in Rājagaha, where He observed the second rain-retreat together with twenty-thousand bhikkhus.
List of Vassas observed by The Buddha in Chronological Order
The Buddha had no fixed rain-residence for twenty years during the early period after His Enlightenment (pathama Bodhi), as He went from place to place wherever sentient beings could be saved from the round of suffering. Briefly:
(1) After preaching the Dhammacakka-pavattana Sutta to the Group of five bhikkhus headed by the Venerable Kondañña, together with 18 crores of Brahmās, at Isipatana, Migadaya near Bārāṇasī, the Buddha observed the first vassa in Migadaya, going for alms-round in Bārāṇasī.
(2-4) Then the Buddha observed the second to fourth vassa at Veḷuvana monastery, making Rājagaha His alms resort.
(8) The eighth vassa was spent in the forest of pigeon peas, a wildlife sanctuary, (or the forest governed by a celestial ogress) with Susumaragiri in the Bhagga country as His alms-food resort.
(10) He spent the tenth vassa in the Palileyyaka forest (palale) where the elephant king Palale placed himself at His service.
(12) He observed the twelfth vassa near the Tragacanth tree, which was governed by an ogre named Naleru, with Veranjja country as His alms resort.
(13) With Jantu village, in the Caliya country, serving as His alms resort, He spent the thirteenth vassa at the Caliya mountain monastery.
(17) The seventeenth vassa was spent at the Veḷuvana monastery, where Rājagaha of Magadha became His alms resort.
(18-19) The Buddha stayed for two continuous vassa (namely the eighteenth and the nineteenth) at the Caliya mountain monastery with Jantu village, in the Caliya country, serving as His alms-resort.
(20) The twentieth vassa was observed at the Veḷuvana monastery, in Rājagaha of Magadha, which served as His alms resort.
(These are the places where the Buddha spent irregular rains-residence during the first twenty years after His Enlightenment (Pathama Bodhi).)
(21-44) The Buddha observed regular vassa from the twenty-first to the forty-fourth year at Jetavana and Pubbārāma monasteries at Savatthi, in the Kosala country, which served as His alms resort. (As detailed in the Buddhavaṃsa Commentary)
Various Works in Myanmar dealing with The Vassa kept by The Buddha
The Venerable Monywe Zetawun Sayadaw had composed a verse, for easy recollection of the places where Buddha Gotama had observed rain-retreat, in one of his works entitled Samanta Cakkhu Dīpanī (Second Volume, p 374).
The great Friend of sentient beings of the three worlds spent two months, sixty days, at the place of His Enlightenment, and then observed rain- retreats in the places shown below:
(1) First vassa at Bārāṇasī;
(2-3-4) Bamboo Grove monastery, Rājagaha;
(5) Mahāvana monastery, donated by Licchavi princes of Vesali;
(6) Sixth at Makula mountain;
(7) Seventh at Tāvatiṃsa;
(8) Eighth in the Bhagga country;
(9) Ninth at Ghositarama monastery in Kosambī;
(10) Tenth in the Palale Forest of the elephant king, Palale;
(11) Eleventh in the brahmin village of Nala;
(12) Twelfth at Veranjja;
(13) Thirteenth at Caliya mountain;
(14) Fourteenth at Jetavana monastery, Savatthi;
(15) Fifteenth at Nigrodha monastery of Kapilavatthu;
(16) Sixteenth at Alavi;
(17) Seventeenth at Veḷuvana monastery, Rājagaha;
(18-19) at Caliya Mountain monastery;
(20) Twentieth back at Rājagaha;
(21-44) Thus the Buddha was on the move from place to place for the duration of the first twenty years (the First Bodhi); as regards the second Bodhi (from the 21st to the 44th year) He spent twenty-four vassas alternately at Pubbārāma and Jetavana monasteries in Savatthi.
(45) The Buddha spent the last vassa at the village of Veluva when on the verge of His Parinibbāna, making a total of 45 vassas spent variously at fifteen places in the course of forty-five years before crossing over to the other Shore at the age of eighty.
Besides the foregoing accounts, there are other Myanmar recordings of vassas kept by the Buddha namely, (a) Wasocin Payashikkho comprising five stanzas by Sayadaw U Bodh, (b) Seven Stanzas by minister Caturangabala of Pinya, (c) Wasocin payashikkho by the primate Taungkhwin Sassanapaing Sayadaw in his Gulattha Vinicchaya Treatise and (d) Wasocin Payashikkho by Shwetaung Kyithe Laythat Sayadaw in his Jinatthapakasani treatise.
Scholars desiring more information should seek it from the said treatises.
Footnotes and references:
Vassa: variously translated as monsoon-retreat, rains-retreat, rains-residence, Buddhist lent. The rains-retreat has to be observed for three out of the four months of the rainy season.
The author reproduced here the said verse of the Monywe Zetawun Saydaw. We have provided here only an excerpt thereof in prose.