The Mahasutra “On Entering the City of Vaishali”
The Mahasutra “On Entering the City of Vaishali” (Skt. Vaiśālīpraveśamahāsutra; Tib. ཡངས་པའི་གྲོང་ཁྱེར་དུ་འཇུག་པའི་མདོ་ཆེན་པོ།, Wyl. yangs pa’i grong khyer du ‘jug pa’i mdo chen po). Invited to visit the city of Vaishali, which has been ravaged by a terrible epidemic, the Buddha instructs Ananda to stand at the city’s gate and recite a proclamation, a long mantra, and some verses that powerfully evoke spiritual well-being. Ananda does so, and the epidemic comes to an end. One of the mahasutras related to the literature of the Vinaya, this text, like other accounts of the incident, has traditionally been recited during times of personal or collective illness, bereavement, and other difficulties.
Like the other mahasutras, this text belongs to the literature of the Mulasarvastivadin school. The mahasutra On Entering the City of Vaishali corresponds almost exactly to a passage in the very long sixth chapter of the Mulasarvastivadin Vinayavastu (Toh 1), the Chapter on Medicines (Bhaiṣajyavastu). The present, standalone mahasutra version provides minimal detail of the narrative context in which the event it describes takes place, but from the passages that precede and follow the version in The Chapter on Medicines we can understand why this event was considered so significant.
- English translation: The Mahasutra “On Entering the City of Vaishali”
- 84000 Translating the Words of the Buddha.