A hall in the Mahāvana near
Vesāli. The Buddha
stayed there on several occasions, and in the books are found records of various
eminent persons who visited him there and of his conversations with them.
Among such visitors are mentioned several Licchavi chiefs,
all attended by numerous retinues; their senāpati,
Sīha, who went with five hundred chariots, having only decided after much
hesitation to see the Buddha (A iii.38f; iv.79, 179ff);
- the Jaina Saccaka, whom the Buddha won
only after much argumentation, as described in the
Cūla- and the
Mahā-Saccaka Suttas (M.i.227ff; 237ff;
the Licchavi Dummukha is also mentioned,
M.i.234, as having been present when Saccaka argued with the Buddha);
- the householder Ugga of Vesāli, acclaimed by
the Buddha for the possession of eight eminent qualities (A.iii.49; iv.208f;
- the upāsaka Vāsettha (A.iv.258f),
- the two goddesses, daughters of Pajjunna,
both known as Kokanadā (S.i.29f ); and
- the brahmin Pingiyāni (A.iii.237f).
The Licchavis waited on the Buddha and ministered to him during his stay in
the Kūtāgārasālā, and it is said that they were of various hues: some blue,
others yellow, etc. And Pingiyānī, seeing the
Buddha shining in their midst, surpassing them all, once uttered the Buddha's
praises in verse, winning, as reward from the Licchavis, five hundred upper
garments, all of which, be, in turn, presented to the Buddha (A.iii.239f). On
one occasion, when the Buddha was preaching to the monks regarding the six
spheres of sense contact, Māra arranged an earthquake to break the monks'
concentration, but failed to achieve his object (S.i.112).
Several Jātakas were related by the Buddha in the Kūtāgārasālā:
It was here that the Buddha finally agreed to grant the request of the five
hundred Sākyan women, led by Pajāpatī
Gotamī, that they might be ordained as nuns. They had followed the Buddha
hither from Kapilavatthu (A.iv.274f; Vin.ii.253f; J. ii.392). The Buddha gave
Pajāpatī Gotamī, at her special request, a summary of his doctrine (A.iv.280).
It was also at the Kūtāgārasālā that the Buddha uttered his prophecy as to the
ultimate downfall of-the Licchavis (S.ii.267f).
It was customary for the Buddha, when staying at the Kūtāgārasālā, to spend
the noonday siesta in the woods outside the Mahāvana, at the foot of a tree;
visitors coming at that time would, if their desire to see him was insistent
(see, e.g., D.i.151; A.iii.75), seek him there or be conducted to him. Sometimes
he would express his desire to see no one during such a retreat, except the monk
who brought him his food.
On one occasion the retreat lasted a fortnight, and on his return he found
that a large number of monks had committed suicide as a result of a sermon he
had preached to them before his retreat on the un-loveliness of the body. He
then caused the monks to be assembled, and asked them to concentrate on
breathing (S.v.320f). Sometimes the Buddha would walk from the Kūtāgārasālā to
places of interest in the neighbourhood - e.g., the
Sārandada-cetiya (A.iii.167) and the
Cāpāla-cetiya (S.v.258; A.iv.308f). It
was from the Cāpāla-cetiya, during one of these walks that he gazed for the last
time on Vesāli. He then returned to the Kūtāgārasālā, where he announced that
his death would take place within three months (D.ii.119f; S. v.258ff).
According to Buddhaghosa (DA.i.310;
MA.i.450), there was a monastery (sanghārāma) built for the monks in the
Mahāvana. Part of it consisted of a storeyed house, with a hall below surrounded
only by pillars. These pillars held the gabled room which formed the main part
of the Buddha's Gandha-kuti there. The hall lay from north to south and faced
east (DA.i.311), and from this hall the whole monastery came to be known as the
Kūtāgārasālā. There was a sick ward attached to the monastery, where the Buddha
would often visit the patients and talk with them (E.g., S. iv.210f; A.iii.142).
The books also contain the names of others who stayed at the Kūtāgārasālā
when the Buddha was in residence - e.g.,
- Ananda, who was visited there by the
Licchavis Abhaya and Panditakumāra (A.i.220);
- Anuruddha, who lived there in a forest
hut (S.iii.116; iv.380);
- Nāgita, the Buddha's former attendant, and
Nāgita's nephew the novice Sīha (D.i.151);
- also Cāla,
and Katissaha, all of whom left the
Kūtāgārasālā and retired to the
Gosingasālavana, when the visits of the
Licchavis to the Buddha became disturbing to their solitude (A.v.133f).
In later times Yasa Kākandakaputta is mentioned
as having stayed there (Sp.i.34; Mhv.iv.12; Dpv. v.29).
Eighteen thousand monks under Mahā-Buddharakkhita went from the monastery in
Mahāvana in Vesāli to the foundation ceremony of the Mahā Thūpa (Mhv.Xxix.33).
According to the Northern books (Dvy.136, 200; AvS.8; Mtu.i.300), the
Kūtāgārasālā was on the banks of the lake Markatā (Markatahradatīre).