Oddiyana

Oḍḍiyāna (Sanskrit Oḍḍiyāna; Tibetan: ཨུ་རྒྱན་, Wylie: u rgyan Mongolian: Үржин urkhin, Odia: ଓଡ଼ିଆଣ), a small country in early medieval India, is ascribed importance in the development and dissemination of Vajrayana Buddhism. It is conventionally placed in what is now the Swat District of Pakistan, although a case can also be made for its location in the Indian state of Odisha. Later Tibetan traditions view it as a beyul, a legendary heavenly place inaccessible to ordinary mortals. Padmasambhava, the eighth-century Buddhist master who was instrumental in the introduction of Buddhism to Tibet, was believed to have been born in Oddiyana.[1]

The physical location of Oḍḍiyāna is disputed and open to conjecture. Possible locations that have been identified are:[1]

In his argument, P. C. Bagchi states that there are two distinct series of names in Tibetan: (1) O-rgyān, U-rgyān, O-ḍi-yā-na, and (2) O-ḍi-vi-śā, with the first series connected with Indrabhūti, i.e., Oḍiyăna and Uḍḍiyāna, while the second series falls back on Oḍi and Oḍiviśa, i.e., Uḍra (Odisha) and has nothing to do with Indrabhūti. N.K. Sahu objects, however, and points out that these two sets of names are seldom distinguished in Buddhist Tantra literature, and opines that the words Oḍa, Oḍra, Uḍra, Oḍiviśa and Oḍiyāna are all used as variants of Uḍḍiyāna. In the Sādhanamālā, he further points out, Uḍḍiyāna is also spelt as Oḍrayāna while in the Kālikā Purāṇa, as indicated earlier, it is spelt either Uḍḍiyāna or Oḍra. There is also evidence, Sahu continues, that Indrabhūti is the king of Odisha rather than of the Swāt valley. The Caturāsiti-siddha-Pravṛtti, for example, mentions him as the king of Oḍiviśa while Cordier, in his Bṣtān-ḥgyur catalogue, gives sufficient indications of his being the king of Orissa. Also, in his famous work Jñānasiddhi, king Indrabhūti opens it with an invocation to Lord Jagannātha, a deity intimately associated with Odisha and with no other area of India.[2]

In the 'Seven Line Prayer' (of Padmasambhava) revealed in Jigme Lingpa's terma of the Ngöndro of the Longchen Nyingthig and throughout the Longchen Nyingtig Ngondro, Oddiyana is rendered in the form Tibetan: ཨོ་རྒྱན, Wylie: o rgyan.

In Tibetan Buddhist literature, Oḍḍiyāna is described as being ruled by several kings each of whom were named Indrabhūti.[1]

A number of Vajrayana and tantric practitioners are said to have stayed and practiced there. The first Vajrayana teachings were supposedly given there by Gautama Buddha at the request of the king.[3]

Udyāna (Sanskrit "garden, orchard"; Chinese: 烏萇; pinyin: Wūcháng) was a Buddhist region located north of Peshawar along the Swat River; it was regarded as the furthest part of North India during the time of Faxian.[4]

The area is said to have supported some 500 viharas of the Sthavira nikāya, at which traveling monks were provided lodgings and food for three days. It was said to contain a Buddha footprint, a rock on which he dried his clothes, and a locale where he converted a nāga. It is said that two schools derived from the Sthavira nikāya, the Dharmaguptaka and Kāśyapīya, were established in this area. Both of these schools had proto-Mahayana doctrines.[citation needed]

Faxian stated that the food and clothing worn by those in Udyana were similar to those residing in the Indo-Gangetic Plain.[4]