Pataliputta, Pāṭaliputta, Pātaliputta: 3 definitions


Pataliputta means something in Buddhism, Pali, the history of ancient India. If you want to know the exact meaning, history, etymology or English translation of this term then check out the descriptions on this page. Add your comment or reference to a book if you want to contribute to this summary article.

In Buddhism

Theravada (major branch of Buddhism)

[«previous next»] — Pataliputta in Theravada glossary
Source: Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names

1. Pataliputta: A Paribbajaka; see Potaliputta, for which it is a wrong reading.

2. The capital of Magadha and situated near the modern Patna. The Buddha visited it shortly before his death. It was then a mere village and was known as Pataligama. At that time Ajatasattus ministers, Sunidha and Vassakara, were engaged in building fortifications there in order to repel the Vajjis. The Buddha prophesied the future greatness of Pataligama, and also mentioned the danger of its destruction by fire, water, or internal discord. The gate by which the Buddha left the town was called Gotamadvara, and the ferry at which he crossed the river, Gotamatittha (Vin.i.226 30; D.ii.86ff).

The date at which Pataliputtta became the capital is uncertain. Hiouen Thsang seems to record (Beal: Records ii.85, n. 11) that it was Kalasoka who moved the seat of government there. The Jains maintain that it was Udayi, son of Ajatasattu (Vin. Texts ii.102, n. 1). The latter tradition is probably correct as, according to the Anguttara Nikaya (iii.57) even Munda is mentioned as residing at Pataliputta. It was, however, in the time of Asoka that the city enjoyed its greatest glory. In the ninth year of his reign Asokas income from the four gates of the city is said to have been four hundred thousand kahapanas daily, with another one hundred thousand for his sabha or Council (Sp.i.52).

The city was known to the Greeks as Palibothra, and Megasthenes, who spent some time there, has left a vivid description of it (Buddhist India 262f). It continued to be the capital during the greater part of the Gupta dynasty, from the fourth to the sixth century A.C. Near Pataliputta was the Kukkutarama, where monks (e.g. Ananda, Bhadda and Narada) stayed when they came to Pataliputta (M.i.349; A.v.341; A.iii.57; S.v.15f., 171f). At the suggestion of Udena Thera, the brahmin Ghotamukha built an assembly ball for the monks in the city (M.ii.163).

Pataligama was so called because on the day of its foundation several patali shoots sprouted forth from the ground. The officers of Ajatasattu and of the Licchavi princes would come from time to time to Pataligama, drive the people from their houses, and occupy them themselves. A large hall was therefore built in the middle of the village, divided into various apartments for the housing of the officers and their retainers when necessary. The Buddha arrived in the village on the day of the completion of the building, and the villagers invited him to occupy it for a night, that it might be blessed by his presence. On the next day they entertained the Buddha and his monks to a meal (Ud.viii.6; UdA.407ff).

Pataliputta was also called Pupphapura (Mhv.iv.31, etc.; Dpv.xi.28) and Kusamapura (Mbv.p.153). The journey from Jambukola, in Ceylon, to Pataliputta took fourteen days, seven of which were spent on the sea voyage to Tamalitti (E.g., Mhv.xi.24).

context information

Theravāda is a major branch of Buddhism having the the Pali canon (tipitaka) as their canonical literature, which includes the vinaya-pitaka (monastic rules), the sutta-pitaka (Buddhist sermons) and the abhidhamma-pitaka (philosophy and psychology).

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India history and geography

Source: Ancient Buddhist Texts: Geography of Early Buddhism

Pāṭaliputta (पाटलिपुत्त) or Pāṭaligāma was an ancient capital of Magadha: one of the sixteen Mahājanapadas of the Majjhimadesa (Middle Country) of ancient India, as recorded in the Pāli Buddhist texts (detailing the geography of ancient India as it was known in to Early Buddhism).—The Samantapāsādikā tells us that the missionaries who visited various places to preach the dhamma of Asoka were almost all natives of Magadha. In Asoka’s time the capital of the Magadhan kingdom was Pāṭaliputta (the older Pāṭaligāma where the ministers of Ajātasattu built a fort to repel the Vajjis). Pāli literature, however, contains numerous references to Rājagaha, the ancient capital of Magadha. In the Samanta-Pāsādikā we find that Asoka’s income from the four gates of the city of Pāṭaliputta was 400,000 kahāpaṇas daily, and in the Sabhā or Council he used to get l00,000 kahāpaṇas daily.

India history book cover
context information

The history of India traces the identification of countries, villages, towns and other regions of India, as well as mythology, zoology, royal dynasties, rulers, tribes, local festivities and traditions and regional languages. Ancient India enjoyed religious freedom and encourages the path of Dharma, a concept common to Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism.

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Languages of India and abroad

Pali-English dictionary

[«previous next»] — Pataliputta in Pali glossary
Source: BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary

pāṭaliputta : (nt.) name for a city in Magadha, (present of Patna).

Pali book cover
context information

Pali is the language of the Tipiṭaka, which is the sacred canon of Theravāda Buddhism and contains much of the Buddha’s speech. Closeley related to Sanskrit, both languages are used interchangeably between religions.

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