1. Kási (Kásika).-One of the sixteen Mahájanapadas (A.i.213, etc.), its capital being Báránasí.
At the time of the Buddha, it had been absorbed into the kingdom of Kosala, and Pasenadi was king of both countries (D.i.288; M.ii.111). The Mahávagga (Vin.i.28l), however, mentions a Kásika-rájá (king of Kási?) who sent a robe to Jívaka. Buddhaghosa (see Vinaya Texts ii.195, n.2) says that this was a brother of Pasenadi and son of the same father. He was probably a sub-king of Pasenadi. Pasenadi's father, Mahákosala, on giving his daughter in marriage to Bimbisára, allotted her a village of Kási (Kásigáma, q.v.) as bath money (J.iv.342; J.ii.403; SA.i.110,120f, etc.). Even at this time, however, the memory of Kási as an independent kingdom seems to have been still fresh in men's minds. It is very frequently mentioned as such in the Játakas and elsewhere. Kási was once ruled by the Bháratas, one of whom, Dhatarattha, was its king in the time of Renu (D.ii.235f). There seem to have been frequent wars between the countries of Kási and Kosala, victory belonging now to one, now to the other. In one such war, Dígháti (q.v.), the Kosala king, was defeated by the king of Kási, but Díghíti's son Díghávu won back the kingdom (Vin.i.334; J.iii.487; DhA.i.46). In another war the Kási king, Mahásílava, was taken captive by the ruler of Kosala, but his kingdom was later restored to him (J.i.262, etc.; see also i.409; UdA.123).
The traditional name of the king of Kási from time immemorial was evidently Brahmadatta (q.v.), and references to kings of that name abound in the Játakas. Sometimes the king is referred to merely as Kási-rájá. Among other kings of Kási mentioned are Kikí (M.ii.49) and Kalábu (J.iii.39). The extent of the Kási kingdom is given as three hundred leagues (J.v.41; also iii.304, 391).
The capital of Kási is generally given as Báránasí, but it is said that when Asoka was king of Kási his capital was in Potali (J.iii.155), and another king, Udaya-bhadda, had his seat of government in Surundha (J.iv.104ff). It is possible that these cities did not form part of the regular kingdom of Kási, but became annexed to it during the reigns of some of the more powerful kings.
Kási was evidently a great centre of trade and a most populous and prosperous country. Frequent mention is made of caravans leaving Kási to travel for trade. One highway went through Kási to Rájagaha (Vin.i.212) and another to Sávatthi (Vin.ii.10; Mhv.v.114). Kási was famed for her silks, and Kási-robes were most highly esteemed as gifts, each robe being valued at one hundred thousand. (See, e.g., J.vi.151, 450; see also Addhakási). Mention is also made of the perfumes of Kási (Kási-vilepana (J.i.355) and Kási-candana (A.iii.391; UdA.332)).
Besides those already referred to, other names of places mentioned in literature as belonging to Kási, are Vásabhagáma, Macchikásanda (the kammantagáma of Anáthapindika), Kítágiri and Dhammapálagáma (q.v.). Kási and Kosala are frequently mentioned together. (E.g., A.v.59).
2. Kási, or Kásika.-A city, the birthplace of Phussa Buddha (Bu.xix.14; J.i.41). There he preached the Buddhavamsa (BuA.193). The city is probably to be identified with Benares, which is sometimes referred to as Kásipura (E.g., DhA.i.71; J.v.54; vi.165; M.i.171; DhsA.35; Cv.xli.37). It is also called Kásipurí (PvA.19).