1. An overview of traditions about the sites of the rainy-season retreats
2. Places of Sakyamuni's rainy-season retreat that can be verified from early Buddhist scriptural sources
3. Contradictions between traditions about the sites of the rainy-season retreats and places of Sakyamuni's rainy-season retreat in the early Buddhist scriptural sources
rainy-season retreat, places of the rainy-season retreat, Atthakatha, Sengqie luochaji jing, Badailing tahao jing, Ma_kulapabbata, Majiuluowuzhong shan
The purpose of this article is to establish the documentary value of traditions concerning the places of the rain-season retreat that are contained in lists of the places where the rain-season retreat was held during the forty-five years between the Buddha's enlightenment and death, and their chronology. It summarizes the previously published Articles 5, 7 and 12 and Source Material 5, adding a small amount of material to reach a final conclusion.
I first surveyed each kind of tradition about places where Sakyamuni's rainy-season retreat was held. Information about the places of the retreat and the chronology of the retreats is contained in the Pali-language commentaries, the Atthakathas, and sutras of the Northern Transmission such as the Sengqie luochaji jing and the Foshuo shieryou jing. The Badailing tahao jing and Buston's History of Buddhism do not contain chronologies, reporting only the places where the retreat took place and the number of times held, in no particular order. Those traditions that report the chronology almost certainly precede those that give only the number of times.
I then arranged the materials. The items extracted in Article 5 were ordered according to place name. Because they were not ordered according to the corresponding sutras, they were not suited to close examination. Accordingly, the range of materials dealt with was broadened in Source Materials 5, and the corresponding sutras were organized so they were very plain to see, and reorganized according to place-name for the convenience of further study.
Comparing the traditions about the places where the rainy-season retreat was held with the descriptions in the early Buddhist scriptural sources, a number of inconsistencies were found. There are some names of places where Sakyamuni is said to have spent the retreat in the early Buddhist scriptural sources that do not appear in the traditions about the retreat. Videha is given in both the Pali materials and the Chinese translations; Vedhañña and Sāmagāma in the country of the Sakyas, and Campa appear in the Pali materials and in part the Chinese translations; Iccānanagala and Anupiya appear only in the Pali materials; and Medaḷumpa, Silāvatī and Āmalakīvana in the country of the Sakyas, and Devadaha, Pāvā, Andhakavinda and Majiuluowuzhong shan appear only in the Chinese translated materials. There are also instances where places are mentioned in the traditions as the site of retreats but no such items can be found in the scriptural sources. Such places include Maṅkulapabbata, Cāliyapabbata, Nālā brāhmaṇagāma and Āḷavī.
There are also cases where discrepancies arise over chronology between the scriptural sources and the traditions. For example, the traditions say that the retreat in Vesāli was held once in the fifth year after the enlightenment, but it is difficult to reconcile events mentioned in the scriptural sources as taking place during his rainy-season residence in Vesāli with a rainy season retreat held in the fifth year after the enlightenment. There is a mismatching here. There is also the not so very old tradition that Sakyamuni spent a rainy-season retreat in the Heaven of the Thirty Three Deities, and also one that all the later retreats were held in Sāvatthi. This state of affairs compels us to conclude that we cannot rely on the traditions about the places where the retreats were held.
It is difficult to come to a clear conclusion, but my hypothesis is that the various traditions about the rainy-season retreats were created by particular sects, which were later adopted by other sects.