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Mithilā

The capital of the Videha country. The city was very ancient, and, according to the Mahāgovinda Sutta,¹ was founded by Mahāgovinda, steward of King Reṇu. It was also the capital of Maghādeva ² and eighty-four thousand of his descendants, and of various other kings mentioned in the Jātaka stories, e.g., Aṅgatī,³ Ariṭṭhajanaka,⁴ Nimi,⁵ Videha,⁶ Vedeha,⁷ Mahājanaka,⁸ Sādhīna,⁹ and Suruci.¹⁰ The size of the city is frequently given  ¹¹ as seven leagues in circumference, and the Mahājanaka Jātaka ¹² contains a description of it. There was a road leading from Campā to Mithilā, a distance of sixty leagues.¹³ According to the Umaṅga Jātaka ¹⁴ there were four market towns at the four gates of Mithilā, each being known by the name of Yavamajjhaka.

The Buddha is mentioned as having stayed in Mithilā and having taught there the Maghādeva Sutta ¹⁵ and the Brahmāyu Sutta.¹⁶ It was also in Mithilā that the Vāseṭṭhī Therī  ¹⁷ first met the Buddha and entered the Order, after having heard him teach. After the Buddha’s death, the Videhas of Mithilā claimed a part of his relics and obtained them.¹⁸

In the time of Koṇāgamana Buddha Mithilā was the capital of King Pabbata, and the Buddha taught there on his visit to the city.¹⁹ Padumuttara Buddha taught his first discourse to his cousins, Devala and Sujāta, in the park of Mithilā,²⁰ and later to King Ānanda and his retinue in the same spot.²¹

Mithilā is generally identified with Janakapura, a small town within the Nepal border, north of which the Mazaffarpur and Darbhanga districts meet.²²

In the Indian Epics ²³ Mithilā, is chiefly famous as the residence of King Janaka.

¹ D.ii.235. ² M.ii.72 f; MT.129; see also Dpv.iii.9, 29, 35. ³ J.vi.220.

⁴ J.vi. 30. ⁵ J.iii.378. ⁶ J.ii.39. ⁷ J.vi.330. ⁸ J.vi.30 f. ⁹ J.iv.355. ¹⁰ J.ii.333.

¹¹ E.g., J.iii.365. ¹² J.vi.46 f/ ¹³ J.vi.32. ¹⁴ J.vi.330 f. ¹⁵ M.ii.74. ¹⁶ M.ii.133.

¹⁷ Thig. vs. 135; see also Dvy., p.60. ¹⁸ Bu.xxviii.11. ¹⁹ BuA. 215.

²⁰ Bu.xi.23; BuA.159. ²¹ BuA.160. ²² CAGI., p.718. ²³ E.g., Ramayana i.48.

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