A deva, inhabitant of Távatimsa. He is the chief architect, designer and decorator among the devas, and Sakka asks for his services whenever necessary. Thus he was ordered to build the palace called Dhamma for Mahásudassana (D.ii.180) and another for Mahápanáda (J.iv.323; DA.iii.856).

He also built the hermitages for the Bodhisatta in various births -  e.g., as

Vissakamma also built the hermitage for Dukúlaka and Páriká (J.vi.72).

On the day that the Buddha renounced the world, Sakka sent Vissakamma in the guise of a shampooer to bathe him and clothe him in his royal ornaments (J.i.60; DhA.i.70; BuA.232; he also constructed ponds in which the prince might bathe, AA.i.379); he also sent him to adorn Temiya on the day he left the kingdom (J.vi.12).

Vissakamma erected the jewelled pavilion, twelve leagues in compass, under the Gandamba, where the Buddha performed the Twin Miracle and built the three stairways of jewels, silver and gold, used by the Buddha in his descent from Távatimsa to Sankassa (J.iv.265f). He built, the pavilions in which the Buddha and five hundred arahants travelled to Uggapura, at the invitation of Culla Subhaddá. (DhA.iii.470; and again for the journey to Sunápuranta, MA.ii.1017).

When Ajátasattu deposited his share of the Buddha's relics in a thúpa, Sakka ordered Vissakamma to construct around the thúpa a válasanghátayanta (revolving wheel?) to prevent anyone from approaching the relics. Later, when Dhammásoka (Piyadassí) wished to obtain these relics for his vihára, Vissakamma appeared before him in the guise of a village youth and, by shooting an arrow at the controlling screw of the machine, stopped its revolutions (DA.ii.613, 614).

He constructed the jewelled pavilion in which Sonuttara placed the relies he brought from the Nága world till the time came for them to be deposited in the Mahá Thúpa, (Mhv.xxxi.76) and on the day of their enshrinement, Vissakamma, acting on Sakka's orders, decorated the whole of Ceylon (Mhv.xxxi.34). He also provided the bricks used in the construction of the Mahá Thúpa (Mhv.xxviii.8). Sometimes he would enter into a workman's body and inspire him with ideas -  e.g., in designing the form of the Mahá Thúpa (Mhv.xxx.11). He was also responsible for the construction of the golden vase in which the branch of the Bodhi tree was conveyed to Ceylon (Mhv.xviii.24).

As in the case of Mátalí and Sakka, Vissakamma is evidently the name of an office and not a personal name. Thus, in the Suruci Játaka (J.iv. 325), Vissakamma is mentioned as a previous birth of Ananda, while, according to the Dhammapada Commentary, the architect who helped Magha and his companions in their good works, was reborn as Vissakamma. DhA.i.272. The story given regarding Vissakamma in SNA.i.233, evidently refers to the Mahákanha Játaka. The deva who accompanied Sakka in the guise of a dog in that Játaka was Mátali and not Vissakamma.

See Visvakarma in Hopkins' Epic Mythology.

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