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Oiy?na (Sanskrit Oiy?na; Tibetan: , Wylie: u rgyan Mongolian: urkhin, Odia: ), 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 Oiy?na is disputed and open to conjecture. Possible locations that have been identified are:[1]

  • Odisha in Eastern India, through a case founded upon "literary, archeological and iconographic evidence". Scholars championing this location contend that the name Oiy?na derives from the Dravidian Oiyan, denoting a native or indigenous person of O?ra ("Odisha") or from Oiyam, Telugu for O?ra. Oiy?na is also the Middle Indic form of Udy?na "garden," the name by which Xuanzang knew the region around Odisha. Confusion about the identity of Oddiyana is conflated with confusion about the identity of Indrabhuti as Donaldson (2001: p. 11) observes:

In his argument, P. C. Bagchi states that there are two distinct series of names in Tibetan: (1) O-rgy?n, U-rgy?n, O-?i-y?-na, and (2) O-?i-vi-, with the first series connected with Indrabh?ti, i.e., O?iy?na and Uiy?na, while the second series falls back on O?i and O?ivi?a, i.e., U?ra (Odisha) and has nothing to do with Indrabh?ti. 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 O?a, O?ra, U?ra, O?ivi?a and O?iy?na are all used as variants of Uiy?na. In the S?dhanam?l?, he further points out, Uiy?na is also spelt as O?ray?na while in the K?lik? Pura, as indicated earlier, it is spelt either Uiy?na or O?ra. There is also evidence, Sahu continues, that Indrabh?ti is the king of Odisha rather than of the Sw?t valley. The Catur?siti-siddha-Prav?tti, for example, mentions him as the king of O?ivi?a while Cordier, in his B?t?n-?gyur catalogue, gives sufficient indications of his being the king of Orissa. Also, in his famous work Jñ?nasiddhi, king Indrabh?ti opens it with an invocation to Lord Jagann?tha, a deity intimately associated with Odisha and with no other area of India.[2]

  • In later Tibetan traditions, Oiy?na is either conflated or identified with Shambhala, a land inhabited by kin?s and inaccessible to or by ordinary mortals[].

Orgyan or Orgyen

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: ?, Wylie: o rgyan.

Tibetan Buddhism

In Tibetan Buddhist literature, Oiy?na is described as being ruled by several kings each of whom were named Indrabh?ti.[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]


Udy?na (Sanskrit "garden, orchard"; Chinese: ; pinyin: W?cháng) 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 nik?ya, 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 n?ga. It is said that two schools derived from the Sthavira nik?ya, the Dharmaguptaka and Kyap?ya, were established in this area. Both of these schools had proto-Mahayana doctrines.[]

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


  1. ^ a b c Keown, Damien (2003). A Dictionary of Buddhism (1 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 203, 208. ISBN 9780198605607. Retrieved 2016.
  2. ^ Donaldson, Thomas E. (2001). 'Iconography of the Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa: Text', Volume 1 of Iconography of the Buddhist Sculpture of Orissa, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. Abhinav Publications. ISBN 81-7017-375-2, ISBN 978-81-7017-375-5 Source: [1] (accessed: Tuesday February 2, 2010), p.11
  3. ^ Nyingma History
  4. ^ a b Polo, Marco; Yule, Sir Henry; Cordier, Henri (1993). The Travels of Marco Polo: The Complete Yule-Cordier Edition : Including the Unabridged Third Edition (1903) of Henry Yule's Annotated Translation, as Revised by Henri Cordier, Together with Cordier's Later Volume of Notes and Addenda (1920). Courier Corporation. p. 164. ISBN 9780486275864.



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