A hall in the Mahāvana near Vesāli. The Buddha stayed there on several occasions, and in the books are found records of various eminent persons who visited him there and of his conversations with them.
Among such visitors are mentioned several Licchavi chiefs,
all attended by numerous retinues; their senāpati, Sīha, who went with five hundred chariots, having only decided after much hesitation to see the Buddha (A iii.38f; iv.79, 179ff);
The Licchavis waited on the Buddha and ministered to him during his stay in the Kūtāgārasālā, and it is said that they were of various hues: some blue, others yellow, etc. And Pingiyānī, seeing the Buddha shining in their midst, surpassing them all, once uttered the Buddha's praises in verse, winning, as reward from the Licchavis, five hundred upper garments, all of which, be, in turn, presented to the Buddha (A.iii.239f). On one occasion, when the Buddha was preaching to the monks regarding the six spheres of sense contact, Māra arranged an earthquake to break the monks' concentration, but failed to achieve his object (S.i.112).
Several Jātakas were related by the Buddha in the Kūtāgārasālā:
It was here that the Buddha finally agreed to grant the request of the five hundred Sākyan women, led by Pajāpatī Gotamī, that they might be ordained as nuns. They had followed the Buddha hither from Kapilavatthu (A.iv.274f; Vin.ii.253f; J.ii.392). The Buddha gave Pajāpatī Gotamī, at her special request, a summary of his doctrine (A.iv.280). It was also at the Kūtāgārasālā that the Buddha uttered his prophecy as to the ultimate downfall of-the Licchavis (S.ii.267f).
It was customary for the Buddha, when staying at the Kūtāgārasālā, to spend the noonday siesta in the woods outside the Mahāvana, at the foot of a tree; visitors coming at that time would, if their desire to see him was insistent (see, e.g., D.i.151; A.iii.75), seek him there or be conducted to him. Sometimes he would express his desire to see no one during such a retreat, except the monk who brought him his food.
On one occasion the retreat lasted a fortnight, and on his return he found that a large number of monks had committed suicide as a result of a sermon he had preached to them before his retreat on the un-loveliness of the body. He then caused the monks to be assembled, and asked them to concentrate on breathing (S.v.320f). Sometimes the Buddha would walk from the Kūtāgārasālā to places of interest in the neighbourhood - e.g., the Sārandada-cetiya (A.iii.167) and the Cāpāla-cetiya (S.v.258; A.iv.308f). It was from the Cāpāla-cetiya, during one of these walks that he gazed for the last time on Vesāli. He then returned to the Kūtāgārasālā, where he announced that his death would take place within three months (D.ii.119f; S.v.258ff).
According to Buddhaghosa (DA.i.310; MA.i.450), there was a monastery (sanghārāma) built for the monks in the Mahāvana. Part of it consisted of a storeyed house, with a hall below surrounded only by pillars. These pillars held the gabled room which formed the main part of the Buddha's Gandha-kuti there. The hall lay from north to south and faced east (DA.i.311), and from this hall the whole monastery came to be known as the Kūtāgārasālā. There was a sick ward attached to the monastery, where the Buddha would often visit the patients and talk with them (E.g., S.iv.210f; A.iii.142).
The books also contain the names of others who stayed at the Kūtāgārasālā when the Buddha was in residence - e.g.,
In later times Yasa Kākandakaputta is mentioned as having stayed there (Sp.i.34; Mhv.iv.12; Dpv.v.29).
Eighteen thousand monks under Mahā-Buddharakkhita went from the monastery in Mahāvana in Vesāli to the foundation ceremony of the Mahā Thūpa (Mhv.xxix.33).
According to the Northern books (Dvy.136, 200; AvS.8; Mtu.i.300), the Kūtāgārasālā was on the banks of the lake Markatā (Markatahradatīre).