Bahiya sutta Ud. 1.10 historical controversy

So i want to point out bahiya sutta…

Bahiya was from surparka … present day nalasopara (Mumbai) India.
We all know his story that when a question about arhant arises in hin …a Deva guided him towards buddha. And buddha gave him discourse…

  1. Now historically no text give refrence about civilization that much south in India atlist at Buddha’s time…there was some kingdom’s but why buddha didn’t consider to visit south of India…with or without help of psychic powers…

  2. obviously India is field with people always but why bahiya have same concept of spirituality and libration which were dominant in Northn part of india.

  3. How he used same language to talk with buddha …there is no way that people in his area using Pali for day to day chating…

  4. i think bahiya was traveler and then Buddhist text made story about him


Yes, these are good points. I have done some research into the spread of Buddhism southwards, but I haven’t considered this in detail, but I will!

Check out my thoughts here:

A couple of references:

  • In Ja 463 we have a Prince Supparaka. The name is treated as simply a personal name, but he was located at Bharukaccha, i.e. Bharuch, which is not far from Soparaka, and he was renowned as a seafarer.
    • Soparaka was evidently the capital of Sunāparanta = Aparanta.
    • Bharukaccha is mentioned once in the Vinaya: pli-tv-bu-vb-pj1:10.22.1
  • In Md 7 we find a rather extraordinary list of place names, including several that I had thought were only in post-canonical literature: Suvaṇṇabhūmi (Myanmar), Suvaṇṇakūṭa (Malaysia), Tambapāṇi (Sri Lanka). I’ll have to look more closely at this.

Indeed, it would seem this is comparable with the Vatthugatha of the Suttanipata, where a brahmin travels from Savatthi to the south, more or less inland from Suparaka.

The name means “foreigner”, and it is clearly an epithet. But it is not unusual to refer to people by their place of origin. His full name means “the foreigner who wears a bark cloth”.


I believe Ven. Analayo argues the prose section of the Udana were written some time after the verse sections, which could explain some of this, although I may be misremembering/misrepresenting his claim


Indeed, it’s quite apparent. It doesn’t mean that all the prose sections were late or inauthentic, just that they may be embellished or perhaps record events of a later date.


I would be interested in hearing that argument. Do you remember where he made it or what it was?

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For example:


Yes, but note that he argues on a bunch of other grounds that are much more solid, it’s just that I found this particular one unpersuasive.

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my thought was that the buddha’s powers would have made him understand and be understood by others. i don’t know if there’s a sutta explanation for this - the best i can find it:

MN12: “Again, the Tathagata understands as it actually is the disposition of the faculties of other beings, other persons. That too is a Tathagata’s power.”

i seem to recall that ajahn chah (i think) said that he found himself being able to understand pali with very little study. perhaps as the mind develops and one develops the power to comprehend the mind of another, it becomes a simple matter to communicate with them.

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