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Suvaṇṇabhūmi

A country. At the end of the Third Council, the elders Soṇa and Uttara visited this country in order to convert it to Buddhism. At that time a female deity of the sea was in the habit of eating every heir born to the king. The arrival of the elders coincided with the birth of a prince. At first the people thought that the monks were the friends of the demon, but later the monks, being told the story, drove away the demon by their psychic power and erected a bulwark round the country by reciting the Brahmajāla Sutta. Sixty thousand people embraced the new faith, while three thousand five hundred young men and fifteen hundred girls of noble family entered the Order. Thenceforth all princes born into the royal family were called Soṇuttara (Mhv.xii.6, 44 f; Dpv.viii.12; Sp.i.64).

There seems to have been regular trade between Bhārukaccha and Suvaṇṇabhūmi (See, e.g., J.iii.188), and also between the latter and Bārāṇasī (Molini), (J.iv.15), Mithilā (J.vi.34), Sāvatthi (PvA.47), and Pāṭaliputta (PvA.271).

The distance between Sri Lanka and Suvaṇṇabhūmi was seven hundred leagues, and, with a favourable wind, could be covered in seven days and nights (AA.i.265).

Suvaṇṇabhūmi is generally identified with Lower Burma, probably the Pagan and Moulmein districts. It probably included the coast from Rangoon to Singapore. The chief place in Suvaṇṇabhūmi was Sudhammanagara — i.e., Thaton — at the mouth of the Sittaung River (See Sās. Introd., p.4, and n.3). Fleet suggests (J.R.A.S.1910, p.428), however, that it might be the district in Bengal called by Hiouen Thsang “Ka-lo-na-su-fa-la-na” (Karnasuvarna), or else the country along the river Son in Central India, a tributary of the Ganges, on the right bank of the river which is also called Hiranyavāha. The probability is that there were two places of the same name, one originally in India itself and the other in Further India. cf. Sunāparanta.

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