The Passing of Arahat Sanghamitta

from the Extended Mahāvaṁsa, Chapter XX. The Complete Emancipation of the Elders
ExtMhv 65-74 cf. Mhv 48-53

Stupa (Mural at Wat Pho, Bangkok)

(Mural at Wat Pho, Bangkok)

The Great Elder Saṅghamittā, of great power, great intelligence, fulfilled all duties to the Dispensation with virtue and wisdom, and benefitted many people in the delightful Island of Laṅkā.

Nine years after the beginning of the reign of King Uttiya, fifty-nine years (after arriving), while residing in the Elephant’s Measure house, this light of the world passed away.

Hearing that, King Uttiya, affected by the dart of grief, with a shower of tears set rolling, 2 went out with his assembly and just as for the Elder Mahinda, he made supreme offerings and paid respect to the Elder Nun for a week in that place, and decorated the whole of Laṅkā as for the Elder Mahinda.

After seven days the Elder’s body was placed on top of a bier and was led round the delightful city with the assembly, and the Guardian of the World, placing the decorated bier aside, near to the Beautiful hall, in sight of the Great Bodhi Tree, on the eastern side of the Sanctuary monastery, in the place indicated by the Elder Nun, had the cremation carried out.

translator’s note: the text here is translated from the Extended version of the Mahāvaṁsa, for more information see the preface to this series. Where the extended version and the original differ the text is italicised.

The Lord of the World Uttiya also had a Sanctuary built in that place. Having taken her relics he deposited them in the Sanctuary, and he worshipped there day by day, with all kinds of offerings.

End Notes

1 Note that in verse 46 above Mahinda is said, in the eighth year of King Uttiya’s reign, to have lived sixty years in the caves at Mahintale. Evidently these figures cannot be reconciled with what is now said here.
2 The third time this phrase has been used about the Elder: first when she told her Father, King Asoka, she was going to Laṅkā, and next when she actually left for the Island, never to return.


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