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Ambalaṭṭhikā

1. Ambalaṭṭhikā.– A royal park on the road between Rājagaha and Nāḷandā. It contained a royal rest-house (rājāgāraka) in which the Buddha and members of the Order used to stay in the course of their journeying. It was on one such occasion that the Brahmajāla Sutta was taught (Vin.ii.287; D.i.1). Buddhaghosa (DA.i.41‑2) says that it was a shady and well-watered park, so called because of a mango sapling which stood by the gateway. It was surrounded and well guarded by a rampart, and its rest-house was adorned with paintings for the king’s amusement.

It was one of the spots in which the Buddha rested during his last tour, and we are told that while there he discoursed to a large number of monks (D.ii.81; he remained there one night, UdA.408). However, the most famous of the Buddha’s discourses in Ambalaṭṭhikā seems to have been the Rāhulovāda Sutta named Ambalaṭṭhika-Rāhulovāda Sutta, because of its having been taught in the park (M.i.414 ff). From the context it appears as though Ambalaṭṭhikā was within walking distance from the Kalandakanivāpa in Rājagaha.

However, see below (4) for a more probable explanation.

2. Ambalaṭṭhikā.– A park in the brahmin village Khāṇumata. The Buddha went there during one of his tours through Magadha. On this occasion he taught the Kūṭadanta Sutta (D.i.127). Buddhaghosa (DA.i.294) says the park was like the pleasance of the same name between Rājagaha and Nāḷandā.

3. Ambalaṭṭhikā.– There was a place of this name to the east of the Lohapāsāda in Anurādhapura. Once when the Dīghabhāṇaka Theras recited the Brahmajāla Sutta there, the earth trembled from the water upwards (DA.i.131).

On another occasion King Vasabha heard the Dīghabhāṇakas reciting the Mahāsudassana Sutta, and thinking that they were discussing what they had eaten and drunk, he approached closer to listen; when he discovered the truth he applauded the monks (DA.ii.635).

The place referred to here was probably not a park, but a building that formed part of the Lohapāsāda. In the Mahāvaṃsa account (Mhv.xxvii.11‑20) of the building of the Lohapāsāda we are told that the plans were copied from the gem-palace of the goddess Bīranī. The central part of the palace was called the Ambalaṭṭhikapāsāda. “It was visible from every side, bright, with pennons hung out.”

Duṭṭhagāmaṇī probably included a similar central part in the Lohapāsāda. This view is strengthened by No.4 below.

4. Ambalaṭṭhikā.– According to Buddhaghosa (MA.ii.635), the Ambalaṭṭhikā, in which the Rāhulovāda Sutta of that name was taught, was not a pleasance, but a pāsāda, a kind of meditation hall (padhānagharasaṅkhepa) built in the outskirts of Veḷuvana-vihāra for the use of those who desired solitude. It is said that Rāhula spent most of his time there, from the day of his ordination as a seven-year-old boy.

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