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Moriyā

A warrior (khattiya) clan of India. Among those claiming a share of the Buddha’s relics were the Moriyā of Pipphalivana. They came rather late and had to be satisfied with a share of the ashes (D.ii.166; Bu.xxviii.4).

Candagutta, grandfather of Asoka, was also a Moriya (Mhv.v.16; Dpv.vi.19).

The Mahāvaṃsa Ṭīkā (MT. 180) contains an account of the origin of the name. According to one theory they were so called because they rejoiced in the prosperity of their city (attānaṃ nagarasiriyā modāpīti, ettha sañjātā ti, dakārassa rakāraṃ katvā Moriyā ti laddhavohārā). They lived in a delightful land. Another theory connects the name with mora (peacock). The city which they founded had buildings of blue stone, like the neck of the peacock, and the place always resounded with the cries of peacocks. It is said that the Moriyā were originally Sākyan princes of Kapilavatthu, who escaped to the Himavā regions to save themselves from the attacks of Viḍūḍabha, and established a city there. Thus Asoka was a kinsman of the Buddha, for Candagutta was the son of the chief queen of the Moriya king. The king was killed by a neighbouring ruler and the city pillaged. MT.183; but according to the Mudrārāksasa (Act iii.) Candragupta, was a Vrsala, a person of low birth, an illegitimate son of the last Nanda, king by a Sūdra woman, Murā.

Asoka’s mother, Dhammā, was also a Moriya princess (MT.189). Mention is also made of the Moriyā as a Singhalese clan (Cv.xxxviii.13; xli.69; see also Cv.Trs.i.29, n. 2). Whether these had any connection with the Moriyā of India is not known.

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