One of the five hills encircling Rājagaha. It was evidently a favourite resort of those who followed the religious life. (It was so even in times gone by, see, e.g., J.ii.55).
The Buddha seems to have been attracted by its solitude, and is mentioned as having visited it on several occasions, sometimes even in the dark, in drizzling rain, while Māra made unsuccessful attempts to frighten him (S.i.109).
It was on the slopes of Gijjhakūta, where the Buddha was wandering about, that Devadatta hurled at him a mighty stone to kill him, but only a splinter injured his foot (Vin.ii.193, etc.).
It was there also that Jīvaka Komāra-bhacca administered a purgative to the Buddha (AA.i.216).
Among those who visited the Buddha on Gijjhakūta are mentioned:
Several well-known suttas were preached on Gijjhakūta - e.g., the Māgha, Dhammika and Chalabhijāti Suttas, the discourse on the seven Aparihānīyadhammā (A.iv.21f.), the Mahāsāropama and ātānātiya Suttas. (See also S.ii.155, 185, 190, 241; iii.121; A.ii.73; iii.21; iv.160).
It is said (AA.i.412) that in due course a vihāra was erected on Gijjhakūta for the Buddha and his monks; here cells were erected for the use of monks who came from afar, but these cells were so difficult of access that monks arriving late at Rājagaha would ask Dabbamallaputta-Tissa to find accommodation for them in Gijjhakūta, in order to test his capabilities (Vin.ii.76; DhA.iii.321f).
Mention is made of several eminent monks who stayed at Gijjhakūta from time to time - e.g.,
Channa fell ill there, and ultimately committed suicide. (Another monk is mentioned as having thrown himself down from Gijjhakūta because he was discontented with his life, Vin.iii.82. According to one account, AA.i.146f, Vakkali, too, committed suicide by throwing himself from Gijjhakūta; but see Vakkali).
Moggallāna and Lakkhana are reported to have stayed there, and to have seen many inhabitants of Rājagaha reborn in Gijjhakūta as petas (S.ii.254; Vin.iii.104; for Moggallāna see also A.iv.75).
The Mettiya-bhummajakas (Vin.iii.167) and the Chabbaggiyas (ibid., 82) were also in the habit of visiting the hill.
Several places are mentioned as having been visited by the Buddha during his sojourns on Gijjhakūta, and it may be inferred from accounts given of these visits that these places were within easy reach of the hill. Such, for example, are:
The Gijjhakūta was so called, either because its peak was like a vulture's beak, or because it was the resort of many vultures (SNA.ii.417; AA.i.412; MA.i.291, etc).
Cunningham (CAGI.534), on the authority of both Fa Hien and Hiouen Thsang, identifies Gijjhakūta with the modern Sailagiri, about two and a half miles to the north-east of the old town. It is also called Giriyek Hill. Gijjhakūta is sometimes referred to as Gijjhapabbata (J.ii.50; iii.255, 484) and as Gijjha. J.vi.204, 212.
2. Gijjhakūta.-A tank in Ceylon, built by Upatissa II. Cv.xxxvii.185.