Savatthi, aka: Sāvatthī, Sāvatthi; 4 Definition(s)


Savatthi means something in Buddhism, Pali, Jainism, Prakrit, 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)

[Savatthi in Theravada glossaries]

The capital town of Kosala in India and one of the six great Indian cities during the lifetime of the Buddha (D.ii.147). It was six leagues from Saketa (Vin.i.253; seven according to others, DhA.i.387), forty five leagues north west of Rajagaha (SA.i.243), thirty leagues from Sankassa (J.iv.265), one hundred and forty seven from Takkasila (MA.ii.987), one hundred and twenty from Supparaka (DhA.ii.213), and was on the banks of the Aciravati (Vin.i.191, 293). It was thirty leagues from Alavi (SNA.i.220), thirty from Macchikasanda (DhA.ii.79), one hundred and twenty from Kukkutavati (DhA.ii.118), and the same distance from Uggapura (DhA.iii.469) and from Kuraraghara (DhA.iv.106). The road from Rajagaha to Savatthi passed through Vesali (Vin.ii.159f), and the Parayanavagga (SN.vss.1011 13) gives the resting places between the two cities Setavya, Kapilavatthu, Kusinara, Pava and Bhoganagara. Further on, there was a road running southwards from Savatthi through Saketa to Kosambi. One gavuta from the city was the Andhavana (q.v.). Between Saketa and Savatthi was Toranavatthu (S.iv.374).

The city was called Savatthi because the sage Savattha lived there. Another tradition says there was a caravanserai there, and people meeting there asked each other what they had Kim bhandam atthi? Sabbam atthi and the name of the city was based on the reply (SNA.i.300; PSA. 367).

The Buddha passed the greater part of his monastic life in Savatthi. His first visit there was at the invitation of Anathapindika. It is said (DhA.i.4) that he spent twenty five rainy seasons in the city nineteen of them in Jetavana and six in the Pubbarama. Savatthi also contained the monastery of Rajakarama (q.v.), built by Pasenadi, opposite Jetavana. Outside the city gate of Savatthi was a fishermans village of five hundred families (DhA.iv.40).

Savatthi is the scene of each Buddhas Yamaka patihariya (DhA.iii.205; cf. Mtu.iii.115; J.i.88); Gotama Buddha performed this miracle under the Gandamba (q.v.).

The chief patrons of the Buddha in Savatthi were Anathapindika, Visakha, Suppavasa and Pasenadi (DhA.i.330). When Bandhula (q.v.) left Vesali he came to live in Savatthi.

Buddhaghosa says (Sp.iii.614) that, in the Buddhas day, there were fifty seven thousand families in Savatthi, and that it was the chief city in the country of Kasi Kosala, which was three hundred leagues in extent and had eighty thousand villages. The population of Savatthi was eighteen crores (SNA.i.371).

Savatthi is identified with Sahet Mahet on the banks of the Rapti (Cunningham, AGI. 469).

Hiouen Thsang found the old city in ruins, but records the sites of various buildings (Beal, op. cit., ii.1 13).

Woodward states (KS.v.xviii ) that, of the four Nikayas,

(Source): Pali Kanon: Pali Proper Names
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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In Jainism

General definition (in Jainism)

[Savatthi in Jainism glossaries]

Sāvatthī (सावत्थी) is the name of a village visited by Mahāvīra during his fifth year of spiritual-exertion.—Leaving Kayaṅgalā, he arrived at Sāvatthī, and stood in meditation outside the city. It was biting cold in winter. Yet, not caring about the cold, the Lord remained in meditation through the night. In the morning, Mahāvīra left for Śrāvastī.

Sāvatthī was also visited by Mahāvīra during his eleventh year of spiritual-exertion and also during his 11th and 19th Year as Kevalī.

(Source): HereNow4u: Lord Śrī Mahāvīra
General definition book cover
context information

Jainism is an Indian religion of Dharma whose doctrine revolves around harmlessness (ahimsa) towards every living being. The two major branches (Digambara and Svetambara) of Jainism stimulate self-control (or, shramana, ‘self-reliance’) and spiritual development through a path of peace for the soul to progess to the ultimate goal.

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India history and geogprahy

[Savatthi in India history glossaries]

According to Buddhaghosa, Sāvatthi was so called because here the sage Sāvattha lived. According to Papañcasūdāni, however, the city was so called as it contained everything required by human being. But according to the Viṣṇu-puraṇa version, it was founded by a king of the solar race after his name. Śrāvastī, the Candrikāpurī of the Jainas, was sacred to them, being the birth-place of the third tīrthāṅkara Candraprabhānātha. Harṣacarita (Chapter V) mentions Śrutavarmā, the ruler of Śrāvastī. Fa-hien and Hiuen-tsang have also noticed this place in the fifth and the seventh centuries A.D.

(Source): Geography in Ancient Indian inscriptions
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 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

[Savatthi in Pali glossaries]

sāvatthī : (f.) name of the metropolis of the Kingdom of Kosala.

(Source): BuddhaSasana: Concise Pali-English Dictionary
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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