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Ujjenī

1. Ujjenī.– The capital of Avanti. In the Buddha’s time, Caṇḍappajjota (Vin.i.276; DhA.i.192) was king of Ujjenī and there was friendly dialogue between that city and Magadha, whose king was Seniya Bimbisāra. After Bimbisāra’s death, however, Pajjota seems to have contemplated a war against Ajātasattu. See M.iii.7.

There was an old trade-route from Ujjenī to Bārāṇasī and the merchants of the two cities showed healthy rivalry not only in trade, but also in matters of culture. See, e.g., J.ii.248 ff., where the merchants of Bārāṇasī compare their musician Guttila with Mūsila, the chief fiddler of Ujjenī.

It was while going with a caravan to Ujjenī, that Soṇa Kuṭikaṇṇa (4) met the Peta, whose words made him decide to renounce household life (UdA.307 f).

The road taken by Bāvarī’s disciples ran through Ujjenī (Sn.v.1011).

Ujjenī was also the birthplace of Mahā-Kaccāna (ThagA.i.483), of Isidāsī (Thig.v.405), of Abhaya (ThagA.41) and of the courtesan Padumavatī, mother of Abhayā (ThigA.39).

Before succeeding to his father’s throne at Pāṭaliputta, Asoka reigned for several years as Viceroy at Ujjenī, and it was during this period that Mahinda and Saṅghamittā were born (Mhv.xiii.10 ff; Mbv.99; Sp.i.70).

Mahinda spent six months in Dakkhiṇāgiri-vihāra in Ujjenī, prior to his visit to Sri Lanka (Mhv.xiii.5).

From the same vihāra forty thousand monks were present, under the leadership of Mahā Saṅgharakkhita, at the foundation of the Mahā Thūpa in Anurādhapura (Mhv.xxix.35).

The Jātaka stories speak of Ujjenī as having been the capital of Avanti from very ancient times, e.g., in J.iv.390, where Avanti Mahārāja rules in Ujjenī as capital of Avanti. However, in the Mahāgovinda Sutta (D.ii.235), Māhissatī is mentioned as the capital of Avanti. Perhaps Māhissati lost its importance later and gave place to Ujjenī, for we find Māhissati mentioned just before Ujjenī among the places passed by Bāvarī’s pupils on their way to Sāvatthi (Sn.v.1011).

Ujjenī is identical with the Greek Ozene, about 77° E. and 23° N. (Bud. India, p.40; see also CAGI, 560, and Beal ii.270  for Hsouien Thsang’s description of it).

2. Ujjenī.– A city in Sri Lanka, founded by Vijaya’s minister Accutagāmī (Dpv.ix.36; Mhv.vii.45).

3. Ujjenī.– A township (nigama), the residence of the banker’s daughter Rucinandā, who gave milk-rice to Padumuttara Buddha just before his Enlightenment (BuA.158).

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