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The life and works of Ven.

Buddhagosha was the most famous and the great senior commentator in the history of Sri
Lankan. It mentions in Cullavamsa that Buddhaghosa was born in the vicinity of Buddhagaya in
Indian as a Brahmin. However, Buddhaghosa was born in northern India in the 5th century A.D.
he was the son of Kesi and Kesini of Ghosagama.
The Culavamsa mentioned that Buddhaghosa met a Bhikkhu by the name of Revata. After
hearing the reciting of the three Vedas, the contents of the Abhidhamma, he was ordained by Ven.
Revata and was given Tasakammatthana. While he was in the Jambudipa, before coming to
Ceylon, according to verse No. 225 mentions that Buddhaghosa has written three books:
Banodaya, Atthasalini: commentary on Dhammasangani and Parittatthkatha.
He was well acquainted with Indian literature and was conversant with the grammatical system
of pABini. Before he embraced the Buddhist faith, he was a follower of the system of
PataGjali. In his commentaries Buddhaghosa has introduced an important mass of legends and
fables, folk-tales and traditions, history and biography, besides, verbal glosses and philological
Then, the Thera, having known his knowledge, asked him to go to Ceylon, where the
commentarial tradition well preserved, and render them into the Magadhi language from the
language of Ceylon, for the benefit of many. On his way, he met Buddhadatta who was returning
to Jambudipa from Ceylon. According to Dhammakitti, and verse No. (247) Buddhaghosa came
to Ceylon during the time of King Mahanama who ruled the country in the 5th century A.D.
Then, having come to Ceylon, he met the Sangharaja Mahathera of Mahavihara. Then, in
order to test his capability, the Sangharaja asked him to write an exposition on the significance of
two stanzas uttered by the Buddha with reference to the Tipitaka. And he is said to have written it
for three times but for the first and the second times they were stolen by the Sakka. Thus
Visuddhimagga was completed by him. On seeing the capability of him, the Sangharaja was
very pleased and gave him permission to render the whole of the Sinhala commentaries into
Magadhi. And From that time he became famous as Buddhaghosa among the inhabitants of
The four books he wrote immediately after his Visuddhimagga, were the commentaries on the
first four Nikayas. They are:
1. The sumaNgalavilAsinI (commentary on the DIgha nikaya), which was written
at the request of dAthanAga of the sumaNgala vihAra,
2. The papaGcasUdanI (commentary on the Majjhima nikaya), at the instance of
Buddhamitta of Mayurasuttapattana,
3. The sAratthappakAsinI (commentary on the SaMyutta nikaya) and
4. The manorathapUranI (commentary on the ANguttara nikaya) at the request
of Jotipala.

However, Burmese tradition mentions that after having completed his works in Ceylon,
Buddhaghosa went to Burma to propagate Buddhism there. He is said to have brought over from
Ceylon to Burma the Pali scriptures, the commentaries and grammatical works and gave a fresh
impetus to the religion.
According to Chinese record he went to China together with a Tipitaka by ship and asked a
Chinese bhikkhu called Samghabhadara to translate his Samantapasadika into Chinese. As he
was seriously ill that he did not go to ashore and returned in the same ship. Samghabhadara
finished the translation in (489) without the teacher.