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Chapter XIII

The Coming Of Mahinda

THE great thera Mahinda, of lofty wisdom, who at that time had been twelve years (a monk), charged by his teacher and by the brotherhood to convert the island of Lañkä, pondered on the fitting time (for this) and thought: `Old is the king Mutasiva; his son must become king.'

When he had resolved to visit in the meantime his kinsfolk, he bade farewell to his teacher and the brotherhood and having asked the leave of the king he took with him the four theras and also Saipghamitta's son, the miraculously gifted samanera Sumana, mighty in the six supernormal powers; and he went to Dakkhinagira to confer on his kinsfolk (the) grace (of his preaching). While he was so doing six months passed away.

When he came in time to Vedisagiri the city of his mother Devi, he visited his mother and when Devi saw her dear son she made him welcome, and his companions likewise, with foods prepared by herself, and she led the thera up to the lovely vihära Vedisagiri.

When the prince Asoka, while ruling over the realm of Avanti, that his father had bestowed on him, halted in the town of Vedisa, before he came to Ujjeni, and met there a lovely maiden named DevI, the áaughter of a merchant, he made her his wife; and she was (afterwards) with child by him and bore in Ujjeni a beautiful boy, Mahinda, and when two years bad passed (she bore) a daughter, Samghamitta. At that time she lived in the city of Vedisa. The thera who then- sojourned there, perceiving (that) the time (was come), thought thus: `In that great festival of consecration commanded by my father shall the great king Devanampiyatissa take part, and he shall know the splendour of the three things when he has heard it from the envoys. He shall climb the Missakamountain on the uposatha-day of the month Jettha. On that same day we will go to the beauteous isle of Lanka;.'

The great Indra sought out the excellent thera Mahinda and said to him: `Set forth to convert Lanka; by the Sam buddha also hast thou been foretold (for this) and we will be those who aid thee there.'

The son of a daughter of Devi's sister, (a youth) named Bhanduka, who had heard the doctrine preached by the thera to Devi, and who had obtained the reward of one who shall return no more unto life remained with the thera.

When he had stayed there a month the thera, on the uposatha-day of the month Jettha, with the four theras and Sumana, and the lay-disciple Bhanduka also, to the end that they might be known for human beings, rose up in the air (and departed) from that vihara; and he, the (thera) of wondrous powers, coming hither with his following alighted on the pleasant Missaka-mountain, on the Sila-peak on the open and fair Ambatthala.

He who was foretold by the Sage, in the hour of death, as bringing salvation to Lañkä, by his merit in converting Lanka, he, who for Lanka's salvation had become like to the Master, alighted there, extolled by the gods of Lanka.

Here ends the thirteenth chapter, called `The Coming of Mahinda', in the Mahavamsa, compiled for the serene joy and emotion of the pious.

Return to Mahavamsa contents page

Dhamma Essay:
Aims of Buddhist Education by Bhikkhu Bodhi


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