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The Buddha's descent from Trāyastriṃśa, Bharhut, India
An elephant capital at Sāṃkāśya (digitally reconstructured)

Sāṃkāśya [a.k.a. "Sankisa"] (P. Saṅkassa; T. sang kha sa/sa ka she; C. Sengqieshi 僧伽施).[1][2] A city in northern India, near Sravasti, known as the place where the Buddha descended to earth from the "realm of the thirty-three" (Trāyastriṃśa), after teaching the abhidharma to his mother there.[1]

The Princeton Dictionary states:

In the seventh year after his enlightenment, after performing the Śrāvastī miracles, the Buddha magically traveled to the heaven of the thirty-three, where he spent the three months of the rains retreat (varṣā) teaching the Abhidharma to his mother Māyā. (She had descended to meet him there from her abode in the Tuṣita heaven, where she had been reborn as a male deity after her death as Queen Māyā.) At the conclusion of his teaching, the Buddha made his celebrated return to earth from the heaven on a bejeweled ladder provided by Śakra, descending at the city of Sāṃkāśya.[3]

And also:

At the time for his descent, Śakra and Brahmā made three ladders or staircases—one of gold, one of silver, and one of jewels—with the Buddha descending from heaven on the staircase of jewels, Śakra on the staircase of gold, and Brahmā on the staircase of silver. This descent is often depicted in Buddhist iconography and the city of Sāṃkāśya, said to be the place where all buddhas descend to earth from the heaven of the thirty-three, was one of the eight “great sites” (mahāsthāna) and an important place of pilgrimage.[1]

The Buddha's descent from the realm of the thirty-three is also referred to as the “descent of the devas” (devāvatāra).[1] For this reason, Devāvatāra another name for Sāṃkāśya.[1]

The present-day city is in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, about 300 km east of Delhi, and four hours drive east of Sarnath. It is known by the names "Sankisa," "Sankassa," etc. It is one of the eight pilgrimage sites.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. Sāṃkāśya.
  2. Internet-icon.svg ས་ཀ་ཤེ་, Christian-Steinert Dictionary
  3. Buswell & Lopez 2014, s.v. trāyastriṃśa.


Further reading