The capital town of Kosala in India and one of the six great Indian cities during the lifetime of the Buddha (D.ii.147). It was six leagues from Sáketa (Vin.i.253; seven according to others, DhA.i.387), forty five leagues north west of Rájagaha (SA.i.243), thirty leagues from Sankassa (J.iv.265), one hundred and forty seven from Takkasilá (MA.ii.987), one hundred and twenty from Suppáraka (DhA.ii.213), and was on the banks of the Aciravatí (Vin.i.191, 293). It was thirty leagues from Alaví (SNA.i.220), thirty from Macchíkásanda (DhA.ii.79), one hundred and twenty from Kukkutavatí (DhA.ii.118), and the same distance from Uggapura (DhA.iii.469) and from Kuraraghara (DhA.iv.106). The road from Rájagaha to Sávatthi passed through Vesáli (Vin.ii.159f), and the Paráyanavagga (SN.vss.1011 13) gives the resting places between the two cities   Setavyá, Kapilavatthu, Kusinárá, Pává and Bhoganagara. Further on, there was a road running southwards from Sávatthi through Sáketa to Kosambí. One gávuta from the city was the Andhavana (q.v.). Between Sáketa and Sávatthi was Toranavatthu (S.iv.374).

The city was called Sávatthi because the sage Savattha lived there. Another tradition says there was a caravanserai there, and people meeting there asked each other what they had   "Kim bhandam atthi?" "Sabbam atthi"   and the name of the city was based on the reply (SNA.i.300; PSA. 367).

The Buddha passed the greater part of his monastic life in Sávatthi. His first visit there was at the invitation of Anáthapindika. It is said (DhA.i.4) that he spent twenty five rainy seasons in the city   nineteen of them in Jetavana and six in the Pubbáráma. Sávatthi also contained the monastery of Rájakáráma (q.v.), built by Pasenadi, opposite Jetavana. Outside the city gate of Sávatthi was a fisherman's village of five hundred families (DhA.iv.40).

Savatthi is the scene of each Buddha's Yamaka pátiháriya (DhA.iii.205; cf. Mtu.iii.115; J.i.88); Gotama Buddha performed this miracle under the Gandamba (q.v.).

The chief patrons of the Buddha in Sávatthi were Anáthapindika, Visákhá, Suppavásá and Pasenadi (DhA.i.330). When Bandhula (q.v.) left Vesáli he came to live in Sávatthi.

Buddhaghosa says (Sp.iii.614) that, in the Buddha's day, there were fifty seven thousand families in Sávatthi, and that it was the chief city in the country of Kási Kosala, which was three hundred leagues in extent and had eighty thousand villages. The population of Sávatthi was eighteen crores (SNA.i.371).

Sávatthi is identified with Sáhet Máhet on the banks of the Rapti (Cunningham, AGI. 469).

Hiouen Thsang found the old city in ruins, but records the sites of various buildings (Beal, op. cit., ii.1 13).

Woodward states (KS.v.xviii ) that, of the four Nikáyas, 871 suttas are said to have been preached in Sávatthi; 844 of which are in Jetavana, 23 in the Pubbáráma, and 4 in the suburbs. These suttas are made up of 6 in the Digha, 75 in the Majjhima, 736 in the Samyutta, and 54 in the Anguttara. Mrs. Rhys Davids conjectures (M.iv., Introd., from this that either the Buddha "mainly resided there or else Sávatthi was the earliest emporium (library?) for the collection and preservation (however this was done) of the talks." The first alternative is the more likely, as the Commentaries state that the Buddha spent twenty five rainy seasons in Sávatthi (see earlier), this leaving only twenty to be spent elsewhere. The Buddhavamsa Commentary (BuA. p.3) gives a list of these places showing that the second, third, fourth, seventeenth and twentieth were spent in Rájagaha, the thirteenth, eighteenth and nineteenth in Cáliyapabbata, and the rest in different places.

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