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Ariyavaṃsa

1. Ariyavaṃsa.– A compilation, probably of the life-histories of men eminent in the Buddhist Order, made in Sri Lanka and read aloud publicly for the edification of the people. The reading of the Ariyavaṃsa seems once to have been a regular feature of gatherings in the Buddhist vihāras on feast days. King Vohārakatissa made endowments for the giving of alms throughout Sri Lanka on the occasions when the Ariyavaṃsa was read (Mhv.xxxvi.38; Mhv.trans.258, n.6). A sutta called Ariyavaṃsa Sutta is mentioned in the Commentaries (DA.i.50; MA.i.14) as an example of a discourse taught by the Buddha on his own initiative (attajjhāsaya). This perhaps refers to the discourse on the four Ariyavaṃsā in the Aṅguttara­nikāya (A.ii.27). See also Mahā-Ariyavaṃsa.

2. Ariyavaṃsa.– A celebrated teacher and author of the fifteenth century. He came from Pagan and was a member of the Chapaṭa sect. He was a pupil of the famous Ye-din (“water-carrier”) of Sagaing (for an account of him see Bode, op.cit., 41 f), and with great zeal and enthusiasm learnt the Abhidhammattha-vibhāvaṇī from his teacher. Later, Ariyavaṃsa wrote a commentary on this work and called it the Maṇisāramañjūsā. A charming anecdote is related of how he read the work to his colleagues and readily accepted their corrections with gratitude.

Among his other works are the Manidīpa, a Subcommentary (ṭīkā) on the Aṭṭhasālinī, a grammatical treatise, the Gandhābharaṇa, and a study of the Jātaka stories called the Jātakavisodhana.

Ariyavaṃsa spent only a part of his life at Sagaing and afterwards taught at Ava, where the king was sometimes among his listeners. He was among the first of Burmese litterateurs to write a metaphysical work in the vernacular — an Anuṭīkā on the Abhidhamma (Sās. p.41 ff). The Gandhavaṃsa (64‑5) attributes to him another work, the Mahānissara (Mahānissaya?), but no mention is made of it in the Sāsanavaṃsa.

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