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  • Mahāariyavamsa Sutta

On the four Ariyan lineages, reckoned as ancient and pure, and held in esteem by discerning recluses and brahmins of all times. A monk is content with any kind of robe; he does not, for the sake of robes, resort to unseemly conduct; he is free from either selfishness or greed with regard to robes; neither does he exalt himself because of his contentment. So it is with other requisites. He also delights in abandoning and in bhāvanā. A monk possessed of these four Ariyavamsā verily becomes a sage, praised by Brahmā himself (A.ii.27ff).

This sutta was evidently a favourite topic for a sermon (AA.i.385, 386). The Commentary explains (AA.ii.494) how, for instance, anyone who preaches on the first three Ariyavamsā (catupaccayasantosa) could bring the whole Vinaya Pitaka to bear on the discussion, while a discussion on the bhāvanārāma-ariyavamsa could include the two other Pitakas, chiefly the nekkhammapāli of the Patisambhidāmagga, the Dasuttara Sutta of the Dīgha Nikāya, the Satipatthāna Sutta of the Majjhima Nikāya, and the Niddesapariyāya of the Abhidhamma.

The full name of the sutta seems to have been Catupaccayasantosabhāvanārāma Mahāariyavamsa Sutta (AA.i.385). It was also probably called Vamsa Sutta for short.

It is probably this Mahāariyavamsa Sutta which was held in such high esteem by Vohāraka Tissa, that he ordered almsgiving throughout Ceylon whenever the "Ariyavamsa" was read (Mhv.Xxxvi.38; but see Mhv.Trs.258, n. 6). It is said that people would journey five yojanas to hear a monk preach the Ariyavamsa (E.g., AA.i.386), and mention is made of Mahāariyavamsabhānakā, who, judging from the stories of them (E.g., SA.iii.151), were extremely able and eloquent preachers.


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