"Outlying districts" as defined by the Buddha in the modern world map

The Buddha defined outlying districts in this sutta to relax certain rules like allowing frequent bathing:


(Tip: use the “find in page” function on Chrome and type:“Gajaṅgala” to quickly find the part i am refering to)

The question i would like to ask is does anyone have any slightest idea (like any vague approximate clue) how outlying district is find on the modern world map today
For example: is Myanmar or VietNam considered to be outlying district???

Appreciate your helpful replies

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Mv.V.13.12 defines the precise borders of the middle Ganges valley: Mahāsālā on the east, the Sallavatī River on the south-east, the town of Setakaṇṇika on the south, the village of Thūna on the west, and the mountain slope of Usīraddhaja on the north. Unfortunately the identity of these place names at present is largely conjectural. Notes to BD identify Thūna with Sthānesvara, and Usīraddhaja with Usiragiri, a mountain to the north of Kaṇkhal. For the others, see B. C. Law, Geography of Early Buddhism.


I am quoting from Divyavadana. You can consider it material taken from the vinaya of Sarvastivada school.
Incidentally, it also mention bathing.

The Story of Koṭikarṇa*
Śroṇa Koṭikarṇa’s Birth

THE Lord Buddha was staying in the city of Śrāvastī at the Jeta Grove in the park of a man named Anāthapiṇḍada (Almsgiver to the Poor). Meanwhile in Aśmāparāntaka,85 in the village of Vāsava, there lived a householder named Balasena

  1. Aśmāparāntaka appears to be a conjunct of two place names—Aśma (as in Pāli, Assaka; Skt., Aśmaka or Aśvaka) and Aparānta. These two areas are in proximity to each other in what is now Maharashtra.

The venerable Śroṇa Koṭikarṇa approached the Blessed One, venerated with his head the feet of the Blessed One, and then stood at a respectful distance. Standing at a respectful distance, he said this to the Blessed One: “In the region of Aśmāparāntaka, in the village of Vāsava, there lives the venerable Mahākātyāyana, who is my instructor. He venerates with his head the feet of the Blessed One and asks whether you are healthy and so on and whether you are comfortable. He also asks five questions:

  1. In the region of Aśmāparāntaka, Bhadanta, there are very few monks. A quorum of ten monks can only be filled with difficulty. Considering this, how should we proceed with the ordination process?
  1. People there are truly devoted to water and are preoccupied with bathing.

“I give my permission as follows,” the Blessed One said

  1. In the lands beyond the border, ordinations may be performed by five monks, if at least one of them is a master of the monastic discipline.
  1. One may bathe frequently.

I hope the picture is clear enough.
Asmaparantaka is on south west, the region of Aparanta and Asmaka
map of divyavadana

Then the venerable Upāli asked the Lord Buddha: “Bhadanta, the Blessed One has said that in the lands beyond the border, ordinations may be performed by five monks if at least one of them is a master of the monastic discipline. Regarding this rule, where is the border? Where is beyond the border?”

“To the east, Upāli, there is a city called Puṇḍavardhana. East of that is a mountain called Puṇḍakakṣa. Past that is beyond the border

puṇḍravardhana. Puṇḍavardhana is presumably a variant for Puṇḍravardhana, the capital of the Puṇḍra homeland, which roughly corresponds with modern-day north Bengal. Puṇḍravardhana seems to correspond with the ruins of Mahāsthān (or Mahāsthāngarh), which lies seven miles north of the town of Bogra

To the south, there is a city called Sarāvatī (Full of Reeds). Past that is a river called Sarāvatī. That is the border. Past that is beyond the border

( śarāvatī . The precise locations of the city and river by this name are still unknown.)

To the west, there are two brahman villages called Sthūṇa (Pillar) and Upasthūṇaka (Lesser Pillar). That is the border. Past that is beyond the border.

B. C. Law (1976: 129, s.v. sthāneśvara ), following S. N. Majumdar, suggests that Sthūṇa may be identified with Sthāneśvara (Sthāniśvara).

To the north is the mountain called Uśīragiri (Mountain Covered with Uśīra Grass). That is the border. Past that is beyond the border.”

According to Law (1976: 132, s.v. uśīradhvaja ), “Usīnārā mentioned in Pāli Literature and Uśīnaragiri mentioned in the Kathāsaritsāgara are doubtless identical with the Uśīragiri of the Divyāvadāna and Uśīradhvaja of the Vinaya Texts .” Law identifies it with the Siwalik range.

The information about Usira mountain is found again in the English translation of Tamovanamukha­nāma­sūtra

  • Uśīragiri
    A mountain at the northern tip of the Middle Country, located in modern-day Punjab.

Entry into the Gloomy Forest is an account of the extraordinary life of the brahmin Pradarśa, his conversion to Buddhism, and his founding of a monastic community in the Gloomy Forest, a place, located in present-day Punjab, which we can identify as the Tamasāvana Monastery.
The Degé colophon, by contrast, offers more information about the sūtra’s contents and origin. The colophon can be translated, somewhat tentatively, as follows: “From the ten-thousand-lined Sūtra of the Garland of the Northern Range, this is a description of Mount Uśīra, which is the northern border mountain of the Jālandhara region.
Taking the available evidence into account, we can confidently identify the Gloomy Forest as the Tamasāvana.4 The Tamasāvana finds mention in the Chapter on Medicines (Bhaiṣajyavastu)5 of the Mūla­sarvāstivāda Vinaya, in which the Buddha, accompanied by Vajrapāṇi, flies through the sky to visit the northwest region. He first arrives at Mount Uśīra, which he predicts will become the Tamasāvana, a great center for the Buddhist Dharma, some one hundred years after his passing into nirvāṇa.

You can see Usiragiri on the map above.

So according to traditional Buddhist interpretation ( circa 200 BCE), the outlying region is outside the area listed above. To this day, the ordination procedure only require 5 monks in every country.


Nice map, BTW! I’ve been looking for something similar for early Buddhism.