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Printed by W. Dtngulin, Leipzig (Germany).


The present edition of the Sasanavamsa is based on the
following MSS. in the British Museum Collection:

1. Or. 2253 (A) and

2. Or. 2252 (B)

both on palmleaf and in the Sinhalese character.

I also compared my own transcript with one that
Prof. Serge D'Oldenbourg was kind enough to send, from
the papers of his predecessor, the late Professor of Sans-
krit in St. Petersburg. Prof. Miuaev had himself intended
editing this interesting modern work, and had collated,
for this purpose, the abovementioned MSS. (A and B)
in the British Museum, with two (paper) MSS. from
Ceylon, viz. a copy made for Prof. Rhys Davids (D) and
another sent by Sul)huti (S).

In some doubtful passages I have followed corrections
made by Minaev. Where I have preferred the reading
of MSS. A and B the Minaev transcript is cited as Min:
in the notes.

The chief difficulty with the clear and well-written
palmleaf MSS. has been the transcription of frequently
occurring Burmese names. Many sounds in Burmese are
not adequately represented by the Sinhalese (Pali) alphabet
and the copyists appear to have been sometimes at a
loss, for Burmese letters are even wedged in here and
there among the Sinhalese.

In revising my own copy I have adopted Minaev's
system (following the Pali MSS. syllable for syllable)
though I have observed that the usual method of representing


•^ IV H$-

Burmese pronunciation in European books gives to these
same names (of places and persons) a very different form.
For instance, in my transcript from the Pali, the vowel a
appears after a nasal n (in place of a final n(/ or ngh),
while the diphthongs an or ou are represented by the
Pali 0.

I owe sincere thanks to Prof. E. Miiller-Hess who gen-
erously spent much time in going through the proof-sheets
with me. I wish also to thank Prof. Rhys Davids for his
patience and cordial kindness, during the many delays
that occurred before I could complete the edition.

M. B.


Among the modern works on Buddhism written by
Buddhists is a PaH Text of Burmese authorship, entitled
Sasanavamsa. The Sasanavamsa (now edited for the
first time) has been known for many years to scholars.
Prof. Kern in his recent Manual of Indian Buddhism
{Grundriss der Indo-arischen Philologie und AUerthum-
shmde, III. Band, 8 Heft., p. 9) speaks of it as "highly
important for the ecclesiastical history of Ceylon." The
late Prof. Minaev's Becherches sur le Bouddhisme con-
tains critical remarks on this text and several extracts
(Appendices A and B to Becherches, also pp. 189, 208,
231, 232, 273). Eeferences to it occur in Childers' Pali
Dictionary, and Prof. Hardy has drawn on it for his
article Ein Beitrag zur Frage oh DhaminajJdla, &c.
Z.D.M.G., 51 Band, 1897. Louis de Zoysa, in his
Beport on the Inspection of Temple Libraries in Ceylon
(1873), mentions the Sasanavamsa as " a very interesting
historical work." The author, Pahhasami, who dates his
book 1223 of the Burmese Common Era (1861 a.d.), was
the tutor of the then reigning King Meng-dun-Meng-,
and himself a pupil of the Samgharaja, or Head of the
Order, at Mandalay.

The Mdtikd [table of contents] and opening chapter of
the Sasanavamsa seem to promise a general history of
Buddhism. Beginning from the birth of the Buddha, the
author gives a brief summary of the orthodox Sinhalese
tradition, drawn from a few well-known Pali works —



the Atthakatha (of the Mahavihara in Ceylon^), the
Samantapasadika,2 (commentary of Buddhaghosa on the
ViNAYAPiTAiCA, the Mahavamsa and the Dipavamsa
(Chronicles, historical and religious, of Ceylon). Events
are brought up to the time of the Third Council in the
time of AcoKA Piyadasi 3 and the sending forth of
Missionaries from Pataliputra to nine different countries
by the thera, Maha-Moggaliputta-Tissa. The later
history of religion is then followed in the countries
mentioned, a separate chapter being given to each.

The v^hole of these nine chapters fall, roughly speaking,
into two Books or Parts, by which division the scope of
the Sasanavamsa, as a History of Buddhism, becomes

i Part I., as we may call it (departing slightly from the
order of the Matika) , is a group of chapters of unequal
length, mostly very short, and consisting of a few
legends, strung together with quotations from Buddha-
ghosa and the Dipavamsa.

The accounts of Sihala and Suvannabhumi, however,
show far more care^^indncompleteness, or we should rather
say, more knowledge of the subject than the others of this
group. That of Sihala is drawn chiefly from the same
sources as the opening chapter, with some additions from a
work of Burmese origin, Buddhaghosuppatti A For Suvan-
nabhumi the author gives as his sources the Atthakatha,
the Bajavamsa (probably the Pegu Chronicle), and lastly

^ Introduction to Oldenberg's edition of the Vinayapi-
takam, p. xli. ; Kern, Manual Ind. Buddli., p. 110,
et seq.

2 Written some time between 410-432 a.d. Kern, Man.
Ind. Buddh. p. 125.

3 Dated 238 year of Eeligion in Chap. I. of the Sasana-
vamsa, but 235 in Chapter II. (The Third Council is now
placed at about 241 B.C. Man. Ind. Buddh., p. 109).

4 Edited and translated by Jas. Gray. London, 1892.


the Inscriptions — dating from the fifteenth century — of
the celebrated Kalyani SIma, the remains of which still
exist in a suburb of Pegu city.^

Part II. is the longer and more important. It takes
up about three-fifths of the book, but consists solely of
Chapter VI., which treats of the history of religion in
Aparanta, that is, in Mramma ^ or Burma proper.

Before this chapter is examined a few characteristic
traits of Part I. should be pointed out.

The resume of the early history of Buddhism (including
the three Councils and the Great Schism, followed by the
rise of seventeen sects, in the second century of Eeligion)
is, as I have said, drawn from well-known Sinhalese
sources, but a few chronological details are added from
Burmese history — or rather, legend. At the time of
the First Council the mahathera Kassapa is said to
have established the new era. 3 Further a certain jam-
BUDiPADHAJA 4 is named as the king reigning at Tagaung,
the ancient capital of Upper Burma, in the time of

^ The Text and Translation of the Inscriptions, edited
by Taw Sein Ko, appeared in the Indian Antiqiiarij ,
vol. xxii. (1893). See the same author's ArchcBological
Tour through Bamafihadesa (Ind. Ant., vol. xxi. p. 383),
and Bemarks on the Kalyani Inscriptions {Ind. Ant., vol.
xxiii., April, 1894).

2 Mramma (Maramma or Myanma) see Phayre,
Hist. Bur. passim. The derivation of the name is not
yet settled; see Taw Sein Ko, Folk-lore in Burma, Ind.
Ant. vol. xxii. p. 160, Note; also Ind. Ant., vol. xxii.
p. 30.

3 According to Burmese tradition the era which was
suppressed by Kassapa had been established 148 years
before by the maternal grandfather of Gotama (Bp.
Bigandet, Life or Legend of Gaudama, p. 361).

4 See Sir Arthur Phayre's History of Burma, pp. 9, 276 ;
A. Bastian's Geschichte der hido-Chinesen, p. 12.


Ajatacatbu, the friend of the Buddha ; Dvattaponka ^
is mentioned as the contemporary of Kalacoka, the former
being king of Burma in the year 100 of KeHgion. Finally,
the date of the Third Council is said to have fallen in the
12th year of the reign of Eamponka,^ King of Sirikhetta
(Prome). The Section of Chapter I. that deals with the
Missions may be said to strike the keynote of the Sasana-
vamsa. The author gives a few explanatory notes on the
Nine Regions visited by the first Missionaries, and, of
these nine, five are placed in Indo-China. His horizon
seems to be limited, first, by an orthodox desire to claim
most of the early teachers for the countries of the South
(and hence to prove the purest possible sources for the
Southern doctrines) ; and, secondly, by a certain feeling
of national pride. According to this account, Maha-
Moggaliputta Tissa (as if with a special care for the
religious future of Mramma) sent two separate missionaries
to neighbouring regions in the valley of the Irawaddy —
besides three others, who visited Laos and Pegu.

A few geographical notes explain the nine regions
(leaving out Sihala) as follows : —

SuvANNABHUMi is (as in the Atthakatha) identified with
Sudhammapura — that is Thaton at the mouth of the
Sittaung River. 3

^ Dwottabaung 101 (Year of Religion). See Phayre's
list of Kings of the Prome dynasty. Hist. Bur., p. 277.
The legend of Dwottabaung or Duttabaung (b.c. 442) is
given in Taw Sein Ko's article Folk-lore in Burma, Ind.
A7it., vol. XXX. pp. 159 et seq.

2 See Phayre's list (His. Bur., p. 277). Ranbaung,
sixth of the dynasty established at . Tharekhet-ta-ra,
reigned fifty years (from 193 to 243 Era of Religion). In
Crawfurd's Journal of an Embassy to tlie Court of Ava,
Appendix viii., a Burmese chronological table dates Ram-
b'haong, King of Prome, B.C. 351.

3 SuvANNABHtJMi see E. Forchhammer's Notes on the


YoNAKARATTHA is the country of the Yavana people or
Jan-May ^ (the country of the Shan tribes about Zimme) .

The identification of Pafiiiasami is one to be met with
commonly in the works of Burmese writers, according to
whom Yona is the Shan country about Chieng-Mai (Taw
Sein Ko, Bemarks, &c.; Forchhammer, Early History,
&c.)- European authorities have unanimously placed
Yonaka in the N. W. region of India invaded and held by
the Greeks (see, among others, Rhys Davids, Buddhism,
p. 227 ; Sylvain Levi, La Grece et VInde, p. 37 ; Max
Duncker, Geschichte der Arier, p. 378).

In the chapter on Yonakarattha the author of the
Sasanavamsa localises the Yonaka country more exactly,
mentioning the countries HaribJiimja, Kamboja, Khema-
vara, and Ayuddha, also the cities of Sokkataya and
Kapu7iiia. From these hints we may gather that his
Yonaka country extends along the valleys of the Me-7iam
and Me-ping rivers and includes the Shan States to the
north of these. The names Kamphaung and Zimme (on
the Meping) Thukkate and Yuthia (on the Me-nam) can
be easily recognised under their pseudo-Pali forms.

Early History and Geography of British Burma. The first
Buddhist Mission to Suvannahliumi ; Taw Sein Ko,

Preliminary Study of the Kalyani Inscriptions (Ind. Ant.
vol. xxii. p. 17) explains Sudhammanagara as the
modern Thatou ni the Amhurst district. Phayre (Hist.
Bur. p. 19) describes Suvdrnabhnmi as including the delta
of the Irawadi and Thahtun (being the capital) see also
op.cit.]). 24, for references toLassen, Yule, and Bp.Bigandet
on Suvannabhumi.

The chapter on Suvannabhumi touches briefly on
Religion in Muttima (Martaban) as a part of Bdmahna.
The history of this region is only carried on to the year
1478 A.D. (reign of the celebrated King Dhammaceti.)

I Yonakarattha (The Jan-May of the Pali MSS. of
this work, is usually transcribed Zimme or Chieng-Mai).


With regard to the Yavana people, it may further
be noted that in the sketch map of the ancient classical
divisions of Indo-China, in Lucien Fournereau's Le Siam
Ancien {Annales dit Musee Guimet, Tome 27) Yavanade(;a
lies to the east of the Me-ping Eiver. For the Yavana
people in Indo-China see also Abel Bergaigne's L'ancien
Boijaiime de Campd d'apres les Inscriptions, p. 61, and
Memoires et documents de la Mission Pavie, p. 3.

The ancient Haripumja is identified by M. Fournereau
with Lamphun {Skun Ancien, p. 53). M. Pavie says,
describing a Thai inscription at Lamphun, " Ce Hari-
pufijapura fut dans le haut Laos la station la plus reculee
vers la frontiere de la Chine, et sans donte nous avons la
la capitale du Yavanadega qui du temps de la colonisation
brahmanique comprenait la contree du haut Mekhong,
probablement toute le partie longeant la frontiere de la
Chine entre Chieng Mai et le Ton-king" (Memoires et
documents de la Mission Pavie (ed. M. Pavie et
P. Lefevre PontaHs), p. 144.

In the Po"!, U'l Daung Inscription near Prome (ed. Taw
Sein Ko, Ind. Ant., vol. xxii. p. 1, et seq) the following
states of the then Burmese kingdom are mentioned
among otheva^Kamboja (including Mone, Nyangwe,
Thibo and Alomeik), Aguttaya (including Dvaravati
(Bangkok) Yodaya (Ayuthia) and Kamanpaik).

Khemavara, is the region including Kaington and
Kyaing Kaung. It lies between the Saliwen and Me-kong
rivers. (See also F. Gamier, Voyage d' exploration en Indo-
Chine, p. 366 ; and Yule, Mission to the Court of Ava,
p. 352.)

Vanavasi ^ (on which Western opinion has been divided)

I Vanavasi. Some opinions on Vanavasi may be
cited :— Childers (Pall Diet, s.v.) explains Vanavaso :
"Name of a country. According to Vijesimiha it means

Ehys Davids says {Buddhisjn, p. 227), "Vanavasi, that


is the region round Prome. In support of this explana-
tion the author mentions that an ancient image of the
Buddha was found near Prome some years ago, the
inscription of which says that it was erected for the
homage of the people of Vanavasi.

Of Kasmira-Gandhara it is only said that these two
countries formed part of one kingdom [i.e., that of
A9oka I] at the time of the Missions.

Mahimsakamandala is (in agreement with other
writers) identified as the Andhaka — or Andhra —
country. 2

Cinarattha, in the Matika of the Sasanavamsa, takes
the place of the Himavaritapadesa of the Ceylon books.

is the wilderness. It surely cannot mean Thibet. . . .
perhaps it was on the borders of the great desert in

Fergusson and Burgess (quoted by Taw Sein Ko in
Ind. Ant., vol. xxiii. p. 103) place Vanavasi in Kanara
(see Cave Temples of India, p. 17) and Koppen {Religion
des Buddha, vol. i. pp. 195, 196) conjectures it to be
" im Sudosten des heutigen Goa."

1 KasmIra-Gandhara. The Gandhara country lay on
the right bank of the Indus, south of Cabul (Max Duncker,
Geschichte der Arier, p. 273).

2 Mahimsakamandala : Cf . the following : —

" Mahlsamandala worunter man vermuthet Mahismat
Oder Mahlsvara au der mitteren Nerbudda zu verstehen
ist " (^Koppen, Bel. des Buddh., vol. i. p. 195).

Mahisa, " the most southerly settlement of the Aryans
South of the Godavari, in the Nizam's dominions" (lih.
Davids, Buddhism, p. 227, quoting Lassen's Indische
AlteTthumskunde, i. 681).

Mahlsamandala; Maisur (Fergusson and Burgess,
Cave Temples of India, p. 17).

(Burma has its own Mahimsaka^nayidala, a district.


Himavantapadesa, mentioned in our text as forming
one region with Cinarattha, has been identified with
the Central Himalayas (Eh. Davids, Buddliism, p. 227),
and with Nepal (Fergnsson and Burgess, Cave Temples,
p. 17). The Sen, or Ghinarattha, of the Po^ U;; Daung
Inscription is the borderland to the N.E. of Burma {i.e.,
includes the districts of Bhamo andKaungsin, the district
bordering on the Chinese province Yunnan). But in
Chapter X. of the Sasanavamsa, " On Keligion in Cina-
rattha," we read that the ruler of Clna at one time ruled
over Kasmlra-Gandhara, though at the time of Majjhima's
mission the latter countries did not form part of his
domain. Kasmlra-Gandhara did as a matter of fact
become part of the great kingdom of the Mauryas in the
time of A9oka (Max Duncker, Geschichte cler Arier, pp.
275, 374), but at a later period war was waged between
China and a rival power over these North-West provinces
(Sylvain Levi, Notes stir les hido-Sci/thes, p. 62).

Maharattha is Mahanagararattha, or Siam.

Maharattha is considered by a number of European
scholars to be the region of the Upper Godavari, that is,
the country of the Maharastras (see E. Miiller, Journal
of the Pali Text Society, 1888; also Eh. Davids, BuddJiism,
p. 227; Koppen, Bel. Buddh., pp. 195, 196; Fergusson
and Burgess, Cave Temples, p. 17). Childers, however,
explains Maharattha as Siam.

The author of the Sasanavamsa explains that his
Maharattha or Mahanagararattha borders on Siam.
From this observation and one or two others occurring
in the chapter on Maharattha, it would seem that the

mentioned in the Po", U',] Dating Inscription, including
Mogok and Kyatpyin).

It should be mentioned here that the name of the
missionary to Mahiinsaka is Maharevata in Sas. V.
Mahddeva in Dlpa V., Maha. V., Suttav., Saddh. Samy.,
and Sam. Pas.


country in question is Laos. An interesting if slight
allusion is made to the Brahmanic cult prevailing there
at the time of the Mission (aggihrttadimicchdka7mna7n
ijebhmjijena akmmu). Nagasena is mentioned as preach-
ing in this region. (For Nagasena in Laotian legend see
Francis Garnier, Voyage cV exploration, pp. 248, 251. This
author learnt that, in Siamese tradition, Laos is a Holy-
Land.) {Op. cit., p. 100.)

I should add that an inscription of the seventeenth
century, quoted by Burmese diplomatists in negotiation
with the British Government and translated for his
Government by Colonel Burney (Kesident at Ava, 1837),
thus defines the region Mahanagara, "All within the
great districts of Kyain-youn and Mamgeen " (Yule,
Mission to the Court of Ava, p. 351).

Finally, Aparantarattha (placed by European scholars
west of the Punjab), is none other than the Sunaparanta
of the Burmese, i.e., the region lying west of the Upper

It is best here to quote verbatim a passage from the
Burmese scholar to whose researches I am indebted
for so many facts : " The native writers of Burma, how-
ever, both lay and clerical, aver with great seriousness
that the Apardntaka referred to is Burma Proper,
which comprises the upper valley of the Irawaddy.
Such flagrantly erroneous identification of classical
names has ansen from the national arrogance of the
Burmans, who, after their conquest of the Taking
kingdoms on the seaboard, proceeded to invent new
stories and classical names, so that they might not be
outdone by the Talaings, who, according to their ow^n
history and traditions, received the Buddhist religion
direct from missionaries from India. The right bank of
the Irawaddy river near Pagan was accordingly re-
named Sunaparanta, and identified with Aparantaka "
(Taw Sein Ko, Some Bemarks on the KalyZmi Inscrip-
tions, Ind. Ant., vol. xxiii. p. 103).

In the British Burma Gazetteer (vol. ii. p. 746)



Thoonaparanta is identified with the upper portion of
the Thayet district, or the west bank of the Irawaddy.

"West" is the sense in which " Aparanta " has been
taken as indicating a borderland west of the Punjab by
European scholars, of whom I need only quote Professor
Ed. Miiller {Journal of the Pali Text Society, 1888),
Professor Ehys Davids {Buddhism, p. 227), Koppen
{Religion des Buddha, vol. i. p. 192).

Taranatha (p. 262 of Schiefner's translation) mentions
Aparantaka as a part of India including ' ' Bhangala and

The rest of Part I. of the Sasanavamsa must be dis-
missed here with a few words. The religious history of
the three regions outside Indo-China and Ceylon is not
carried beyond the point where Buddhaghosa leaves it.
To the brief account of the Atthakatha and the Dlpa-
vamsa the Burmese author adds a few words of melan-
choly comment on the darkened state of those lands
whence the sunlight of Keligion has vanished. Maha-
rattha, Yonakarattha, and Vanavasi are treated some-
what more fully, but these six chapters together made
up only a small part of the book. I may add here that
the Pali of the Sasanavanisa also shows the author's
intimate acquaintance with the commentaries. The style
is plainly founded on that of Buddhaghosa and his suc-
cessors. Naturally, in so modern a text there are no
points of strictly philological interest. The obscurities
that occur here and there may, I believe, be set down to
the difficulties a Burman author would meet with in
rendering into Pali some phrases characteristic of the
Burmese language. Again, some words used by Panna-
sami in Part II. would appear to have a special applica-
tion to the circumstances of his own country. It is this
Part II., the most original and interesting chapter (on
Religion in Aparanta), that is properly the subject of the
present short study.


[7ji the folloiving chapter the names and dates of the Kings of Burma
appearing in the text follow Paiinasami ; those in the notes are draivn from
other sources (sec authors cited) for comparison. Occasional references are
given (by page) to the printed text of the Sasanavamsa (published by the
Pali Text Society).]

In the Burma of to-day, as in the Europe of the Middle
Ages, the monks are the historians ; the last recension
of the National Chronicle, or History of the Kings
(Maharajavamsa), was the work of " a body of learned
monks and ex-monks " in the year 1824.^

But, though a lay point of view is hardly to be ex-
pected from such a body of editors, the native chronicles
consulted by students of Burmese history have been
described as very full and by no means untrustworthy. ~

The Sasanavamsa, a work of narrower scope, cannot, of
course, add to our knowledge of the political and military

^ See Taw Sein Ko's remarks on the native histories
of Burma {Indicui Antiquary), vol. xxii. p. (31.

Lassen {Iiidische Alterthitmshunde) , vol. iv. p. 369),
writing in 1861, mentions a recension of the Mahdrd-
javamsa, made by command of the king, some sixty years
before. The work was based on two older histories.
Amoilg the works of the celebrated thera Aggadhamma-
lamkara (17th century), mentioned in our text, occurs an
abridged version {Samkhepa) of the Bdjavmnsa, written
at the request of the king.

2 See preface to Sir Arthur Phayre's History of Burma,
London, 1883.


history of the author's country. Yet, in so far as the
rehgion of the Buddha has played a great part in Burma's
social life, and has been the first awakener of her intel-
lectual life and the supreme interest controlling it, a
record of the Order which, for centuries, has been the
living embodiment of that religion, cannot but be

The Kajavamsa is one of the authorities frequently
referred to (besides inscriptions and " ancient books ") by
the author of the Sasanavamsa, but he chooses from his
material with a very strict regard for the purpose of his
book. The National Chronicle is quoted here and there,
but, as a whole, the part history plays in the religious
records is slight. We find here only abrupt mention of
wars and sieges, and allusions to kings of Burma, who
serve as chronological milestones by the way, or stand
out as pillars of the Religion, if they spend liberally to
do it honour.

Pamiasami's history is a purely ecclesiastical piece of
work. Kings are judged, as a rule, according to their
"acts of merit" — the building of cetiyas and viharas
and the supporting of the Samgha — with a certain calm
detachment, that is able to separate their names from any
other associations, and to measure their virtue and im-
portance by a measiu'e of its own.

In the following analysis of the Sixth Chapter of the
Sasanavamsa I have set set side by side with such hints
of history — bare dates and scanty facts — as occur there,

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