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Gijjhakūṭa

One of the five hills encircling Rājagaha. It was evidently a favourite resort of those who followed the religious life. (It was so even in times gone by, see, e.g., J.ii.55).

The Buddha seems to have been attracted by its solitude, and is mentioned as having visited it on several occasions, sometimes even in the dark, in drizzling rain, while Māra made unsuccessful attempts to frighten him (S.i.109).

It was on the slopes of Gijjhakūṭa, where the Buddha was wandering about, that Devadatta hurled at him a mighty stone to kill him, but only a splinter injured his foot (Vin.ii.193, etc.) It was there also that Jīvaka Komārabhacca administered a purgative to the Buddha (AA.i.216).

Among those who visited the Buddha on Gijjhakūṭa are mentioned: Sahampati (S.i.153), the youth Māgha (Sn., p.86), the yakkha Inda (S.i.206), Sakka (S.i.233; iv.102), the Paribbājaka Sajjha (A.iv.371), the monk Kassapagotta (A.i.237), Pañcasikha (S.iv.103; D.ii.220), Sutavā (A.iv.369), the four kings of Cātummahārājikā and their followers (D.iii.195), Abhayarājakumāra (S.v.126), Upaka Maṇḍikāputta (A.ii.181), Dhammika (A.iii.368), and Vassakāra (A.iv.18; D.ii.72).

Several well-known suttas were taught on Gijjhakūṭa: the Māgha, Dhammika and Chaḷabhijātiya Suttas, the discourse on the seven Aparihāṇīyadhammā (A.iv.21 f ), the Mahāsāropama and Āṭānāṭiya Suttas. (See also S.ii.155, 185, 190, 241; iii.121; A.ii.73; iii.21; iv.160).

It is said (AA.i.412) that in due course a vihāra was erected on Gijjhakūṭa for the Buddha and his monks; here cells were erected for the use of monks who came from afar, but these cells were so difficult of access that monks arriving late at Rājagaha would ask Dabba-Mallaputta to find accommodation for them in Gijjhakūṭa, in order to test his capabilities (Vin.ii.76; DhA.iii.321 f).

Mention is made of several eminent monks who stayed at Gijjhakūṭa from time to time: Sāriputta (M.iii.263; A.iii.300; S.ii.155), Ānanda (A.iii.383), Mahā-Kassapa, Anuruddha, Puṇṇa Mantāṇīputta, Upāli and Devadatta (S.ii.155), Cunda and Channa (S.iv.55).

Channa fell ill there, and ultimately committed suicide. (Another monk is mentioned as having thrown himself down from Gijjhakūṭa because he was discontented with his life, Vin.iii.82. According to one account, AA.i.146 f, Vakkali, too, committed suicide by throwing himself from Gijjhakūṭa; but see Vakkali).

Mahā-Moggallāna and Lakkhaṇa are reported to have stayed there, and to have seen many inhabitants of Rājagaha reborn in Gijjhakūṭa as hungry ghosts (S.ii.254; Vin.iii.104; for Moggallāna see also A.iv.75).

The Mettiyabhummajakā (Vin.iii.167) and the Chabbaggiyā (ibid., 82) were also in the habit of visiting the hill.

Several places are mentioned as having been visited by the Buddha during his sojourns on Gijjhakūṭa, and it may be inferred from accounts given of these visits that these places were within easy reach of the hill. Such, for example, are: the Paṭibhānakūṭa (See Papāta Sutta, S.v.448), the Sītavana, where the Buddha went to visit Soṇa (A.iii.374), the river Sappinī, on the banks of which lived various paribbājakā, including Sarabha (A.i.185; ii.29, 176), the Paribbājakārāma of Udumbarikā, the residence of Nigrodha, near the Moranivāpa on the bank of the lake Sumāgadhā (D.iii.39), and the park Maddakucchi, where the Buddha was removed after the injury to his foot (DhA.ii.164).

The boar’s-cave (Sūkarakhatalena) was on the slope of Gijjhakūṭa, and there the Buddha was once visited by Dīghanakha (S.v.233; M.i.497). Jīvaka’s mango-grove lay between Gijjhakūṭa and the walls of Rājagaha (DA.i.150).

The Gijjhakūṭa was so called, either because its peak was like a vulture’s beak, or because it was the resort of many vultures (SNA.ii.417; AA.i.412; MA.i.291, etc.)

Cunningham (CAGI.534), on the authority of both Fa Hien and Hiouen Thsang, identifies Gijjhakūṭa with the modern Sailagiri, about two and a half miles to the north-east of the old town. It is also called Giriyek Hill. Gijjhakūṭa is sometimes referred to as Gijjhapabbata (J.ii.50; iii.255, 484) and as Gijjha. J.vi.204, 212.

2. Gijjhakūṭa.– A reservoir in Sri Lanka, built by Upatissa II Cv.xxxvii.185.

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