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Mahājanapadā

The books frequently mention ¹ the sixteen great countries (Mahājanapada) that existed in the time of the Buddha. They are:

  1. Kāsi,
  2. Kosala,
  3. Aṅga,
  4. Magadha,
  5. Vajji,
  6. Mallā,
  7. Cetiya,
  8. Vaṃsā,
  9. Kuru,
  10. Pañcāla,
  11. Macchā,
  12. Sūrasena,
  13. Assaka,
  14. Avanti,
  15. Gandhāra, and
  16. Kamboja.

The first fourteen are included in the Middle Country of India (Majjhimadesa), the two last being in the Northern States (Uttarāpaṭha).

The Jaina Bhagavatī sutta gives a slightly different list: Aṅga, Baṅga, Magadha, Malaya, Mālava, Accha, Vaccha, Kocchaka, Pādha, Lādha, Bajji, Moli, Kāsi, Kosala, Avaha and Sambhuttara (PHAI. p.60).

¹ e.g., A.i.213; iv. 252, 256, 260; a list of twelve is found at D.ii.200, in which the last four are omitted. The Niddesa adds the Kaliṅgas to the sixteen and substitutes Yonā for the Gandhāra (CNid., p.37).

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